A Special Hercules

By Staff
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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.

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