Hercules Engine Restoration

The restoration of a Hercules engine to match an already-owned Hercules engine.

| June/July 2000

  • Hercules Engine
    # 279910
  • Hercules Engine
    # 279910 before restoration.
  • Garrett Shively paint on engine
    Garrett Shively putting the finishing touches on the paint on engine #279910.
  • Hercules Engine

  • Hercules Engine
  • Hercules Engine
  • Garrett Shively paint on engine
  • Hercules Engine

Hercules #279770 had been longing for a mate of the same horsepower and model letter. A couple of little Hercules engines had been added to his side over the last couple of years. These little brothers and sisters helped to ease his longing for a mate, but his owner feared that if a mate was not found for him he would not keep performing perfectly at the engine shows.

A friendship was formed with Kirk 'Kerosene' Taylor over the last year or so. Everyone knows 'Kerosene' around most of southwestern Pennsylvania, some of the Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia engine shows, by the Thermoil engines he brings to the shows. One evening Kirk and I were talking about my Hercules engine #279770, 'a throttling governor engine' when I asked Kirk if he knew of a hit and miss style Hercules engine of the same model letter and horsepower that might be available for purchase. Kirk thought about it for a minute and then he said he knew of an engine he thought was a model F hit and miss, that was real close by. Kirk said he would check it out for me and let me know.

The next time we talked, Kirk said that he had the engine for me, he had been saving if for me for about 10 years. I scratched my head for a minute and thought about it, because I thought that Kirk had shown me all of his engine collection. Kirk told me that this particular engine was stored outside and that he had pretty much forgotten about it until I asked him about the whereabouts of one. Kirk also mentioned that it was missing a lot of parts, and stuck, of course. I did not waste any time getting up to Bedford to see the engine.

When I arrived at Bedford one evening I was told to drive around back of Kirk's parents house, to pick up the engine. I knew this was going to be my lucky day, when Kirk's mother was on the back porch waiting for me to arrive. She was so excited about somebody taking away that ugly rusted up mess of an engine, that had been sitting under her pine tree for about ten years, that I thought she was going to load it into my truck for us. The engine tag was still attached to the hopper, and it confirmed that the engine is a model F serial number 279910 3 HP hit and miss style Hercules gas engine, exactly what I had wanted to go with number 279770! We loaded the engine in my truck for the ride home to LaVale, Maryland. A handshake of appreciation is all Kirk would accept for the engine.

The next morning at school, my colleague and partner in restoring engines Jim Cogan and I looked over and assessed the condition of the Hercules. We were very excited about my new toy we had to work on! The engine was only missing the ignition system. There appeared to be no cracks or welds. There were, however, some very interesting modifications from originality about the engine, we noticed.

First of all, the only thing Kirk knew of the history of the engine was that it had been in a blacksmith shop around the Breezewood area of Pennsylvania, when a fire had burned the building and engine. The engine sat next to what was left of the blacksmith shop for God knows how long before the engine was given to Kirk, and then to me. Nothing was left of the building except the remnants of a few boards, bits and pieces of various types of rusted metal, and the outline of a foundation. So the engine had sat out for a very long, long time.


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