Hercules was a German bicycle and motor vehicle brand from Cologne. The brand goes back to the Nuremberg manufacturer Hercules.
The company was founded by Carl Marschütz.It traded from 1887 as Nuremberg velocipede factory Hercules. The company grew fast. As early as 1888. In 1890, 75 employees were employed, who made 1000 bicycles; four years later there were already twice as many who produced 4,700 bicycles. In 1895, a newly built company premises in Fürther Strasse 191-193. In 1897, the company was converted into a public limited company.
From 1905 to 1907 Hercules also briefly produced motorcycles. During the Second World War, the Hercules factory was destroyed by the air raids on Nuremberg. The remaining tools and machines were placed under dismantling by the Americans and sold abroad. In 1956, the Hercules-Werke were taken over by Fürth's Grundig Group, but two years later by Strohmänner acquired from Fichtel & Sachs AG. From 1987 to 1991 Mannesmann took over the Fichtel & Sachs Group. The bicycle division of Hercules was sold together with the brand "Hercules" 1995/96 to the Dutch ATAG Cycle Group. The production of bicycles in Nuremberg came to an end, the brand was used until 2014 by Accell Germany GmbH.
Hercules built from 1898 trucks with electric and later from 1905 with internal combustion engines, Models were offered from 1.25 to 3 t payload with self-developed engines. From 1912, trucks were also built with both chain and cardan drive. Initially, it was a light truck with an internal combustion engine and up to 1250 kg payload, which was designed as a city vehicle. The truck had a two-cylinder engine with 14 hp, which reached a top speed of 18-20 km / h. This model has cost 7,000 marks and the additional price for double ignition (magnet and battery) was 200 marks. Soon followed heavier models for 3000 to 4000 kg payload. After that, the truck construction grew to become an important subsidiary branch of the company.
How the construction of trucks expanded. No less than 6 basic models with engines between 22 and 44 hp and a payload of 1500 to 5 000 kg were on offer. Bodywork was assembled on these chassis according to the wishes of the buyers with 36 different versions. There were variations including trucks for the Royal Bavarian Post. Furthermore, special medical vehicles were in the program. After the First World War, the truck production had little success with the beginning of the economic crisis in 1928.
Between 1932 and 1937, a two-seater 3 wheel car with a built-in engine from ILO of 200 cc displacement was produced in small quantities. The vehicles allowed to drive without a license and was exempt from the vehicle tax.