from the December 1995 issue of the
Hercules Engine News
by Glenn Karch
The Hercules interests that began in Evansville, Indiana back in 1902, provide an
interesting array of trade marks. Some were registered, while others apparently were not.
The first known trademark was used on the buggies and in the buggy literature. It featured
Hercules, the Greek god of strength, trying to twist and tear up the buggy. The date of
its first use is not
The trademarks used on Hercules brand engines and in the accompanying literature came in several variations. Among the examples taken from C. H. Wendel's book on gas engine trade marks are two claimed to have been in use beginning on February 10, 1914. The registration for the first one was applied for on February 16,1914. The first one shows Hercules trying to stop an early engine that has a rolled hopper lip, Lukenheimer mixer, ball muffler and a priming cup on the side of the cylinder. It is enclosed in a plain circle with the engine apparently resting on a board plank floor. As far as is known, it was not used as such on engines, but it did appear on some printed material encircled with the caption "Hercules A Real Engine.
The first trademark to be used on gas engines shows a slightly different engine design and a slightly modified image of Hercules. It was encircled with "The Hercules Gas Engine Co." on the top and "Evansville, Ind. U.S.A." on the bottom. Although it was claimed to have been in use since February 10, 1910, registration was not applied for until April 2,1926. This trademark was used from 1914 to 1921.
By 1922 the various Hercules related companies had been consolidated into "The Hercules Corporation." The trademark itself was changed slightly showing an updated engine and a different view. The upper caption was changed to "The Hercules Corporation" and below Indiana is spelled out rather than abbreviated.
By 1927 the corporate structure had been changed again, and this time renamed "Servel Inc." Gas engines and other enterprises became "Hercules Products, Inc." Thus, the upper caption on the trademark was changed to read "Hercules Products, Inc." The engine pictured was also updated somewhat.
Although it does not involve the trademark itself, Servel, Inc. gave up the right to
use the Hercules name on engines and left the exclusive use of the engine name to the
Hercules Motor Company of Canton, Ohio. There is more to the story of trademarks
associated with Evansville and the Hercules name, but this will be discussed in a future