Hercules Engine News

Including Economy, Arco, Jaeger & Thermoil

| August/September 1994

20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

Several years ago I had the opportunity to interview Ora Garrison. He was an 82 year old retiree from the Whirlpool Corporation. He started to work for the Hercules Corporation on November 24, 1924. He continued to work there through corporate and product changes until he retired in the early 70s. His first job was repairing magnetos sent in by Hercules built engine owners. He remembered repairing all of the various magnetos that had been used.

His brother, Bert Garrison who began working for the Hercules Gas Engine Company in 1917, was the final engine inspector. In 1927 Ora Garrison became the final inspector replacing his brother. Ora continued to be final inspector until production finally ceased in 1934. The inspector started each engine and checked the timing, bearing tightness and other mechanical adjustments. Felix Rohrer made the repairs that the final inspector found necessary. Engine testers at that time were Owen York and Gilbert Postle the weight.

It was all piecework for Ora Garrison. He received 5 cents for each engine inspected and passed. After the engines had been painted, he received 80 cents per hundred for attaching the serial number tag to the completed engine.

Serial number plates were made by an outside supplier and were consecutively numbered when received. The RPM, HP and model letter were stamped on a series of plates as needed for each size of engine at the Hercules factory.

Serial number tags were held on by two brads driven into two predrilled holes on top of the engine water hopper. To make the brads fit tight, Mr. Garrison used a special small tool and a hammer to flatten an area on the brad stem. That way it would wedge tight when driven into the hole. He performed the stem flattening task during his lunch period. Jaeger brand engines were fitted with a special Jaeger tag attached to the engine base. He received five cents for each of those tags he put on.