Hercules Engine News

By Staff

20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

A call came the other day from a friend in Massachusetts. There
was a question about Brantford oil engines. The Brantford engines
came from Brantford, Ontario. Henry P. Hoag introduced these Hvid
type engines to Brantford in 1918, and they were marketed as Hoag
engines. He imported them from a manufacturer in the USA. The Hoag
engines were essentially identical to the Thermoil engines being
manufactured for Sears, Roebuck & Company by the Hercules Gas
Engine Company at Evansville, Indiana. It is believed that the Hoag
was only available in the 6 HP size.

By 1920 the Brantford oil engines appeared and the Hoag brand
disappeared. According to their literature, the Brantford engines
were available in 1, 3, 7 and 9 HP. The 7 and 9 HP sizes, with
minor modifications, were again essentially the same as the 6 and 8
HP model U Thermoils. The 1 and 3 HP sizes were essentially the
same as the two Thermoil engines being built by the Cummins Engine
Company of Columbus, Indiana, for Sears. Three of these engine
sizes are rated at higher HP than the other model model U engines.
A look at their specification table tells the story. The rpm has
been raised slightly to put them in the higher HP category. These
two smaller sizes were soon discontinued because Cummins had quit
building them and making the parts.

It is believed that the bulk of the Brantford engine parts were
imported, and the assembly and production of modified parts was
done at Brantford. Much of the text and most of the illustrations
in the Brantford literature are identical to that found in Thermoil
literature.

The whole Hvid engine episode turned out to be a fiasco for all
who obtained license to manufacture or market them. From their
beginning in 1915 with modified gas engines to the redesigned U
models in 1918, the Hvid engines never lived up to expectations.
Another call came from West Virginia in regard to engine number
317095. It turned out to be a 1 HP model N gas engine built by
Hercules. The model N, like the Hvid engines mentioned earlier,
turned out to be even shorter lived. Production began in 1923 and
by 1924 it had ceased. The 1 HP model N was 75 pounds lighter than
the standard 1 HP size and sold for a few dollars less. It was
plagued with problems from the beginning. It had a single flywheel
governor weight. Apparently it was difficult to keep the stops on
the weight adjusted properly. The model N also ran faster than most
others at 650 rpm. The governor weight would knock the finger off
the end of the detent lever and the engine would run wild. Once
this happened, other parts were damaged as it began to disassemble.
The particular engine mentioned had repairs made on it. On this
particular engine the flywheels didn’t match either. I have 48
model N’s on my list now. Many of them also show evidence of
past problems. For the most part, the model N is somewhat
temperamental and not a consistent runner as it clatters along.
Despite all of this, the model N is a prize among Hercules and
Economy owners.

A call just came from a nearby friend of mine. He had gone to an
auction and bought a 2 HP model E Economy engine for $400. He
wanted to know how you go about getting it all cleaned up and
getting repair parts to fix it up. I told him to disassemble it and
keep all the smaller parts at home to clean up and work on, and to
take all the large parts to Redi-Strip. I like to keep the small
parts at home and clean them with solvent and then run them over
the wire buffing wheel. New pins can be made to take up a lot of
the play between parts caused by wear over the years. That is also
the time to order necessary springs and other items while waiting
for the big parts at Redi-Strip. While waiting for the big parts,
the rest of the engine can be cleaned, repaired and painted.

Luckily, parts and repairs for such an engine are usually
relatively easy to obtain from one or more advertisers in GEM.

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