Reprinted from the November 1997 issue of the
Gas Engine Magazine

Hercules Engine News
Including Economy, Arco,
Jaeger & Thermoil

by Glenn Karch
Old State Road
Haubstadt, Indiana 47639 .



Portable Horse-Drawn Outfit
HercNews11-97a.jpg (15317 bytes)

This outfit is exactly the same as the saw outfit illustrated and described above [in the catalog], except that it is not furnished with the steel tilting table saw frame, belting, and belt idler. Furnished in 6 and 8 horsepower size.

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Gas engine carts were designed by Hercules, but it appears that the carts and saw rigs were actually built and shipped from elsewhere. One of the cart suppliers, and perhaps the major one, was the Peru Plow and Wheel Company of Peru, Illinois. In several Sears catalogs, it is variously stated that carts and saw rigs are shipped from northern Illinois or near Chicago. These carts and saw rigs were also shipped to various warehouses for quicker delivery of an order.

The drop frame cart used for the 5 through 12 HP size engines was somewhat unique for Hercules built engines in that it was never used much by other engine manufacturers. Although they looked similar, tile drop frame carts used by others seldom had the same dimensions as those used for Hercules built engines.

In the beginning, the drop frame cart was built up in two sizes for Hercules. There was a size for the 5 and 7 HP engines and another size for the 9 and 12 HP size engines. The chart below gives specifications. It should be kept in mind that the expression "subject to change without notice" may apply from time to time.

Size of
5-7 1 5/8" 8'6" 5" 24-32" 4"
9-12 1 5/8" 9' 6" 26-36" 5"

In 1919 separate carts were made for the 9 and 12 HP size engines. The 9 HP had the smaller wheel size. The 12 HP engine size axle was increased to 2". By 1924 only one size cart was offered for both the 9 and 12 HP size engines. It had the smaller wheel size. In order to put a 5 HP size engine on a cart that was large enough for the 7 HP size engine, special adapter plates were used. The same applied to putting a 9 HP engine on a cart large enough for the 12 HP size engine. These plates were made of heavy sheet iron, and it required two of them. They were bolted to the cart holes for the larger size engine and had two holes to adapt to the smaller size engine. These latter two holes were made for recessed head "plow" type bolts for bolting down the smaller size engine. The typical drop frame cart is shown here (above). These carts were for team port-able use.

Hand portable carts were available for the 1, 2-3 and 5 HP size engines. Again, the specifications changed from time to time. In the beginning, the following (above) specifications apply.

All the above carts had steel wheels with cast hubs.

Later the 5 HP size cart would be shortened to 54" with 2" tire size. In 1920 these small carts were redesigned with new specifications as shown at the bottom of the center column.

An example of the hand portable engine carts is shown below.

Hand Portable Outfit
HercNews11-97b.jpg (6166 bytes)

This illustration shows the Hercules hand portable outfit which is made by attaching a 1, 2, 3'~ or 6 H.P. engine to a truck. wheels of truck are heavy cast iron. Axle is extra heavy and reinforced and an engine mounted in this manner will always do the same work as a stationary engine and at times is far more convenient.

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