My First Restoration: 3 HP Hercules One Lunger

The story of Allen Shively's 3 HP Hercules model F one lunger engine restoration begins in March of 1995.

| December/January 1996

The story about my 3 HP Hercules model F kerosene engine begins in March of 1995. At this point of my life I had never seen a one lunger gas engine or even heard the term "one lunger" engine before. By profession I have to be fairly mechanical, because I teach woodworking, metalworking, and occasionally, some small gas engine repair, but I still had no inkling of what a one lunger gas engine was.

One day a conversation came up with my friend and co-worker, Jim Cogan, about the antique truck he was restoring. Jim explained to me that he had some leads on parts, or possibly even some antique trucks in the Baltimore, Maryland, area. Jim asked me if I would like to go with him to "check it out" Saturday. I agreed to go, and bright and early Saturday morning we left for the three-hour drive to Baltimore.

After arriving at the property where the trucks were, Jim and I were looking over the man's antique trucks when I asked Jim, "What in the world is that thing on the bed that Mack truck?" Jim's reply was, "That's a one lunger engine." Jim and I went and crawled up onto the bed of the truck for a closer look. Pointing out the parts and explaining to me at the same time, Jim went on and on about various uses and the mechanics involved for what he called a one lunger.

At this point I really don't know what inspired me to ask Jim if this rusted mass of moss-covered iron ever could function properly, or run again. Jim assured me that it is amazing what "a little sandblasting" could do to rusted cast iron. I asked the owner if this engine was for sale. The reply was "No!" but the owner proposed a deal. The deal was that I would restore a different engine in a little bit better shape for him first, then he would give me the engine that I had tried to buy a couple of minutes earlier. Within a few more minutes Jim and I had purchased, or worked out a deal for, a 1925 IH truck, a 1927 Autocar truck, a one lunger engine and the engine, which turned out to be a little home light plant, that I would restore for the one lunger.

On the ride home all Jim and I could do was try to figure out a way for us to get the engines and trucks 200 miles home, especially since neither of us has a trailer or any other type of transportation for items of such size and weight. A couple of sleepless nights followed; all I could think of was, what had I gotten myself into? No way to get the trucks or engines home, let alone what condition the engine, that I had made the deal for, was in.

Later that week I was visiting a relative, Bill Miller, who is in the business of rebuilding heavy equipment. I explained to Bill the bind that I was in for a way to get the trucks and the engines home. As we were talking Bill asked me where in Baltimore the trucks and engines were located. When I told Bill he just smiled and said that he was sending his trucker down to send some equipment to the CAT dealer, which just so happened to be within a couple of miles of where Jim's trucks and the engines were. Bill said he would just send the driver over and have him pick up the trucks and engines for us. What a relief! I couldn't get home fast enough to tell my wife, and to call Jim and let him in on the great news.