20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639
About a year ago a bridge deck of Hercules playing cards turned up in Iowa. It was apparently used as an early advertising piece by the Hercules Gas Engine Company of Evansville, Indiana. Two more decks have been reported since. The back of the cards, the joker, and the 54th card are shown here. The logo and printing is in black and white while the card design is in red. The cards came in a special slip type box with the factory likeness embossed on it.
As usual, the logo depicts Hercules, the mythical Greek and Roman god of strength, reaching in with his bare hands to stop the running engines. At first glance this logo appears to be the same as that normally used on the engine decals. However, closer examination reveals a slightly different engine view and a very early Hercules-built engine. The engine appears to be that of an early 2? HP model D with the rolled hopper lip. It is equipped with what appears to be a Lukenheimer fuel mixer. It has a ball type muffler which was thought to be limited to the 1? HP size engines at that time. It also has a priming cup located on the cylinder just to the right of the igniter. No crank guard is shown.
Several years ago I talked with a man by phone who indicated that he had a red engine with a Hercules decal also showing a red engine. Unfortunately now, I don't remember who he was. Perhaps the engine depicted on the playing cards was that red engine.
Last September at Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, I bought a basket case Hercules-built engine whose characteristics matched several of those shown on the playing cards. With a lot of work, a search for parts, and the building of parts, a 2? HP engine was restored, painted red and fitted with a red engine decal. It is shown in the accompanying photograph (below).
This engine, the playing cards and more Hercules memorabilia can be seen at the upcoming 1994 Hercules reunion at Evansville, Indiana.