Hercules Engine News

By Staff
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20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

Interesting developments continue to occur at Hercules. Buggies
are being turned out in excess of 300 per day, production of
vehicle bodies is over 200 per day, and gas engines are produced at
over 100 per day.

A farm tractor is developed and a prototype built. It was
exhibited at several mid-western state fairs, and nearly 2000
orders were written. Ray Graham of the Graham Glass Company was an
enthusiastic booster of the tractor that Hercules developed. It was
demonstrated on a 3000 acre farm. It is presumed that was on Graham
Farms, located north of Washington, Indiana. It was also
demonstrated on leased land at the corner of Green River Road and
Weinbach Avenue, southeast of Evansville, Indiana. Yours truly grew
up in that very neighborhood, but neither my father, grandfather,
nor any other old timers ever mentioned anything about it.

It was a three wheeled affair with two front steering wheels set
apart. The long hood blended into a large fender that covered the
single rear drive wheel. The driver’s seat and steering wheel
extended to the left rear of the drive wheel. No good enough
picture exists to show here. A Hercules tractor company was
organized, but no factory was built, and no others were produced
despite glowing accounts of the tractor’s future in newspaper
articles of the time. It’s probably just as well, because other
tractors of that design never made it either.

Hercules was marketing engines worldwide, and said that they
were prepared to correspond in German, Spanish, French and
Portuguese. A few pieces of literature in Spanish and French still
exist. In an effort to market engines into hard-to-reach areas, a
special 1? HP engine was built that could be shipped in parts
weighing less than 50 pounds each. These parts could then be
transported by man or beast into remote areas and there assembled.
Information indicates that many of this type were shipped to India.
An example of this special engine is shown at bottom left. Note
that the cylinder-hopper casting can be separated from the
base.

Salesmen were called in off the road and orders were being
turned down. Hercules had run out of foundry capacity. Construction
of a new larger foundry was begun in 1918 and completed in
1919.

In November 23, 1920, the Hercules corporate structure was
changed, bringing some half dozen Hercules companies into the
Hercules Corporation. Refrigeration was also becoming a part of
Hercules efforts.

It was reported that during their first eight years of
operation, some 350,000 engines had been built. Engine builders of
that time had a strong tendency to exaggerate the production
numbers. A careful study of known serial numbers would indicate
that the number was more like 250,000. That’s still over 30,000
per year, or 100 per day.

Work was being done on new designs for 1?, 3, 6 and 8 HP
Thermoil engines to be built. Sears was still interested in
marketing a low cost fuel engine, but that’s another
complicated and interesting story.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines