Restoration of the Bair Hercules

| October/November 1985

  • Bair Hercules engine

  • Bair Hercules engine

RD#2 Columbia, Pennsylvania 17512

Restoration of the Hercules actually started in the early 1960's while I was in high school. Like so many other projects, this one took one step backward before it moved forward.

I was involved in vocational agriculture and had access to a steam jenny. I convinced my instructor to allow me to bring the jenny home one weekend to clean up the engine. Like other teenage projects, I lost interest in the engine after I had all the grease and grime steamed from its metal surfaces. Twenty plus years later when I got serious about restoring it, I had to deal with a coating of rust on most of its surfaces hence the one step backward!

Between the early 1960's and 1984 it is really a miracle that the engine stayed in the family. During that time I went to college for six years, spent two years in the Army, moved four times, and changed jobs twice. During that same time my parents retired from farming to pursue an educational career, had a public farm sale and moved several times. Getting your friends to move a rusty hulk of iron can strain the best of friendships! Through it all, the Hercules survived sorely neglected, but complete.

Actual restoration began in the winter of 1984. For about a year prior to that, I had been reading my newfound friend Gas Engine Magazine. Through this reading I learned a lot and got interested enough to finally tackle the restoration.

Prior to disassembly I did take a few poor quality black and white photos. I also made drawings and took notes during the process. When I finally got around to putting everything back together, my notes and drawings were more for 'moral support' than actual help. The photos and sketches of the striping were a help in final painting.