The Hercules Engine News

| September/October 2001

20601 Old State Road Haubstadt, Indiana 47639

This story is all about Hercules/Economy gas engine hand cranks. All three smaller sizes of these engines were always equipped with a hand starting crank. You may recall that in the June 2001 issue of GEM there was an article about cranking gas engines with a lot of pro and con comments in regard to using hand cranks from the Stationary Engine List folks.

There were at least four different hand starting crank designs used during the Hercules/Economy engine era. The first, dating back to the Sparta Economy engines, was also used in 1914 and '15. It was of one piece cast iron design with a narrow sleeve that fit over the very short end of the crankshaft with an incline and a notch to engage the end of the flywheel key. This crank, although seldom seen, is shown as illustration #1.

Another rather simple crank also made its appearance early in the era. It is shown as illustration #2. It is a one piece, rather lightweight forging, with the engaging hook on the outer end. It too, is seldom seen.

The most common crank is shown in illustration #3. It is a two-piece cast iron crank with a pin for the hand grip to turn on. It was the crank during the E, F, G and H model eras. It, too, was designed for use where the crankshaft only extended out past the flywheel about 1? inches.

With the advent of the S model and later engines, the crankshaft extended out at least another inch, so a sleeve type crank could be used. This allowed the engaging notch to slip away from the key and still remain on the end of the crankshaft when the engine started. You can see it as illustration #4.