Lee Pedersen recently sent me a picture of a Hercules ‘look
alike’ engine. According to Lee, the engine is a 5 HP and is
labeled ‘American Sawmill Machinery Co. #137, Hackettstown,
N.J.’ He says it looks like a Hercules, but up close, every
casting is different. A close look at the picture he sent shows
several differences from the normal Hercules patterns. The fuel
mixer, choke plate, flywheels and hopper casting all appear to be
modified from the normal Hercules patterns. The original tag has
been replaced with the American flag.
American Sawmill Machine Co.
Hercules did indeed supply 5 or 6 HP engines to the American
Sawmill Machine Co. for a variety of wood sawing construction
equipment. I have seen several of these ‘American’ engines,
and Hercules built them with genuine Hercules patterns and with the
normal Hercules data tag. A few of these engines have had slightly
modified flywheels. I have a copy of the American Sawmill Machine
Co. catalog showing various heavy duty sawing rigs using 5 or 6 HP
So, how do we explain the pattern modifications on the engine
pictured? Here is one man’s opinion. Hercules discontinued
engines of this general style (S model) by 1929. The Plessisville
Foundry at Plessisville, Quebec, produced Hercules ‘look
alike’ engines from 1919 until 1946. I suspect that this engine
is one of those. They used the Webster magneto throughout
production at Plessisville. The American Sawmill Machine Co. may
have sought out another supplier for the engines they needed after
Hercules discontinued them in 1929, importing the ‘look
alikes’ from Canada instead.
Another possibility is that American shipped saws to Canada, and
Plessisville provided engines when they arrived. This could well be
a Forano brand because they were the major marketer of Plessisville
engines through their farm supply catalogs. American was known to
use several engine brands as well as electric motors on their saws.
Shown here are two examples of American saw outfits.
Glenn Karch is a noted authority on Hercules engines.
Contact him at: 20601 Old State Road, Haubstadt, IN 47639, or
e-mail at: email@example.com