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,