12403 E. 34th Ave., Tacoma, Washington 98446
About two years ago, at our Engine and Tractor Show in Roy,
Washington, I was showing some of my engines when I met a man who
told me that he had an old cement mixer out in his woods that he
would be willing to sell. So, not knowing how many others he had
told about it, I called him the next day and went to see it.
When he showed it to me he told me it had broken down about 45
years ago and he had pulled it out there and left it. There were
trees growing all around it, and some were a good five inches
thick. The engine was in a closed engine compartment on the mixer.
At the time I did not know who had made the engine and I could see
there were a lot of broken parts. I took the opportunity and he
sold it to me, and after he allowed me to cut down about a dozen
trees to get it out, I took it home.
I knew it would take a lot of work to restore it. It was so
rusty I couldn’t even tell what color it had been. After I got
it home I took the engine out and saw by the tag that it had been
made by Hercules and was 1 HP Style ‘N.’ I had never heard
of this one and it was one of the smallest 1 HP engines I had seen.
I took the magneto off and after a couple of minutes I had it
working. It’s hard to believe, but it must have had a lot of
grease on it to keep it loose all of these years.
I took the spark plug out and filled the cylinder with solvent
and returned the plug. I planned to restore it after I found the
parts that were broken.
About two months after I purchased the engine I bought Glenn
Karch’s book on the Hercules line and the 1 N engine was
listed. While I was reading I discovered that although the engine
was not rare, it was certainly scarce enough that I would not be
able to find the parts I needed. I was lucky that all of the broken
pieces were in the engine compartment of the mixer. I started
welding all of the little parts back together. The governor weight
mounting hole was broken off; the lock out lever was in three
pieces; the valve push rod was bent; and the valve rocker was
broken in two pieces. The cam follower bracket was also broken.
I had to make new valves. To do this I cut down two modern
automotive valves. The piston was frozen with rust in the cylinder,
so I drilled four inch holes in a piece of inch plate, the same
pattern as the head. I then cut a block of wood that just fit in
the cylinder hole and was about an inch longer than the hole was
deep. I put the plate on the head studs and started torquing the
nuts down 10 pounds at a time. When I got them to 110 pounds each I
stoppedI was afraid to go any more.
After about 10 minutes of thinking about it, I decided to put
about a dozen hot barbecue briquets down in the water hopper, and
after a couple of minutes it snapped loose. I then sand blasted all
the parts and found a trace of green paint. I knew then that it had
been sold as a Hercules and not as a Sears Economy. While cleaning
out the water hopper I happened to find two 5/16 inch oiler fill
plugs. I am always needing one of those.
This model was made without a muffler, it had an oblong exhaust
part with a baffle plate over it. I made a plate and put it on.
When I started the engine it was very loud and smoked the new
paint. I then built a muffler and bolted it on with the baffle
It runs real good and it only weighs 175 lbs. It was a lot of
work, but as any engine collector knows, it was worth it. Oh, the
cement mixer was a Wonder #3 and was too bad to save.