The Hercules Engine News

By Staff

20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

It is well documented that the Hercules Gas Engine Company was
incorporated on November 8, 1912. The primary purpose was to supply
gas engines to Sears, Roebuck and Company for sale through their
mail order catalogs. Construction of the new company began early in
1913 at Evansville, Indiana. The first engines were produced the
week of January 19, 1914. This is all recorded in history. This
article is about those things not recorded anywhere in history.
Yours truly has recorded much information from observations and
from comments by other Hercules-built engine owners.

The first engines produced at the new factory were the D models.
These engines were modified but similar to the last engines
produced at Sparta, Michigan, in August 1913. These D models had no
serial number or data tag on them. Some had a number and the HP
rating stamped on the end of the crankshaft. Less than half of the
D models are noticeably stamped. The range of the numbers currently
known is 33 to 5336, so it is likely that fewer than 6,000 of the D
models were produced.

Concurrently, at a different location in Evansville,
‘Sparta’ Economy engines were being produced and/or
assembled. The majority of the parts were likely brought along on
the factory move back in October 1913. It would appear that some
3,000 to 4,000 ‘Sparta’ Economys were actually shipped from
Evansville.

A study of the D models built by Hercules indicates that 80% or
90% of these were the Economy brand for Sears. The production was
going primarily to Sears to fill back orders that had accumulated
during the four month shutdown and moving period.

By mid-1914, Hercules was producing another modification called
the E model. It was the first to have an ID tag, but it would be
located in rather odd places. The small size 1? HP and some of the
2?/2? HP had the base tag and some had it located on the front top
rolled edge of the water hopper. The 5 HP and larger engines had
the tag also on the rolled hopper lip. Again the majority of the
production (75%) went to Sears as the Economy brand with the
remainder being the Hercules brand. *

After production of 8,000 of the E models, the hopper shape was
changed and the tag area was now located on the flat area toward
the front top of the hopper as seen on most Hercules-built engines
today. E model serial numbers began at 50,000 and all the way up to
70,000 production was heavily in the Economy brand. From that point
on, production trended toward half Economy and half Hercules brand
engines, and by the late teens it was 50-50.

During the first year at Hercules (1914) there were a number of
short-lived featsures that showed up and disappeared. These will be
covered in the future.

The chart below summarizes the data collected on engines in the
50,000 to 70,000 serial number range. There are several more known
in this range but the brand is unknown.

HP

1?

2?-3

5

7

9

12

Hercules

8

6

11

7

3

Economy

42

38

9

16

3

4

*Champion

1

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