A Special Hercules

| October/November 1994

  • 1 HP Hercules gas engine

  • 1 HP Hercules gas engine

641 Dewey Street, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin 54494

This is a picture of the finished product, a 1 HP Hercules gas engine which has been in the family since new. It was purchased by my wife's grandfather, John Thompson, in the teens. It was installed under the windmill at the home farm 'Knutsmoen Plass' in Lakes Coulee, Rural Blair, Wisconsin, for backup when the wind did not blow.

According to John's sons, Sophus and Arnold, the Hercules got quite a workout in the dry years of the '30s. With the coming of the R.E.A. in the mid '40s, the engine just sat covered with an old grain binder canvas under the windmill. I tried to buy the engine in the '60s and again in the '70s.

I married John Thompson's granddaughter in 1978. After the death of one uncle in the '80s, the other sold me the Hercules. It showed evidence of having run without much attention. The boys said they put in a gallon of gas, one turn of the crank and let the engine run 'til it was out of gas. The cistern would then be full. Apparently someone smoked Prince Albert on the farm, as the engine was full of shims from tobacco can tin. Surprisingly, when oiled, the engine had good compression after sitting 40 years. The mag was still hot. After two years of scraping, welding, filling and replacing parts with new parts from advertisers in GEM, the finished product is pictured with my two daughters, Signe and Ingrid, John Thompson's great-granddaughters.

This is my 43rd restored engine in my collection and it will never get out of the family. I also have my Grandpa Iver Jorgenson's 1 HP Mogul and Grandpa Ebert Stutlien's 1 HP Titan, but that is another story.