4735 W. 5th Street, Winona, Minnesota 55987
Fuller & Johnson is alive, well and living in Winona, Minnesota, due to the efforts of Edward J. Chick, a Winona craftsman and collector. He has given life to the Fuller & Johnson Model N in ? scale.
The first step was to restore the three horsepower Model N. The restoration was a very involved process. Practically every piece of the original engine had to be freed from rust. The piston, igniter and valves were stuck. The plumbing and gas tank were nowhere to be found. So after pressing out the piston, welding the rocker arm, making two valves, a gas tank and igniter shaft with new points, all that remained to the task was about 150 hours of sandblasting, overhauling the carburetor and cleaning feathers and a broken oiler out of the water hopper.
The most enjoyable part to any restoration comes when the fresh paint is dry, and that first smoke ring barks forth. The joy in this case was short lived. He pulled on the flywheels until he was out of breath and still no luck. With the help of his three sons, Ed belted the Model N to a 4 HP F. & J. and in so doing attempted to start the 3 HP Mode! N. It was the first time that his sons had seen a 4 HP F. & J. pulled to a stall. After many frustrating hours, the family was about to give up. The head, igniter, and carburetor, which must have been off at least a dozen times, all seemed right. Ed employed the aid of Curtis Schlueter, another Winona collector whose engines are restored to perfection in every detail. Together they found that the igniter return spring needed a half turn more tension. With that, the engine started with the second pull and ran without missing a beat for the rest of the afternoon.
With the completion of the restoration, my father now turned his attention to a long time dream of his-a ? scale F. & J. The pattern work was very time consuming. The cylinder, base and piston required a core box in addition to the pattern for the exterior shape. All the components of the engine right down to the governor weights required patterns. The pattern work and the restoration of the full scale F. & J. took two years of spare time.
Upon completion of the pattern work, a local foundry was employed to cast the cylinder, base, head, piston, rodcaps, flywheels and governor parts were made from cast iron while the igniter and carburetor were made from brass. With the castings now completed the task of building the first of three ? scale F. & J. began. Every part of the model had to be exact when scaled from the original. Because of this, many parts had to be made more than once. The crankshaft, gears, and cam proved to be very challenging. The cylinder was bored two inches, and the head was fit up to the cylinder so that its water passages could also cool the head. The cylinder was then mounted on the base. The cam gears and governor were mounted next. With the addition of the piston, rod, and flywheels, the basic engine was now complete except for the fuel system.
Four carburetors were made before the right combination of fuel and air could be found. A fuel tank was fabricated, and filled. And, after three years of restoration, pattern making, blueprinting, machining, and painting, the F. & J. 1/2 scale Model N came to life with a bang. The engine ran at the first show of the summer season for eight hours at 375 RPMS without missing a beat.
Since that day my father, Edward J. Chick, has brought two more 1/2 scale Model N's to life. Two of the three can be seen any day of the week at his Winona address: 5210 West 6th Street, Winona, Minnesota 55987. Stop in or drop him a line, he will be glad to hear from you.
Ed will not be resting on his past accomplishments this winter, for he has another model in the works-a ? scale four horsepower International Famous upright which he hopes to have finished in time for the first show next spring.
I wish him the best of luck in his new challenge, and many thanks for his efforts to bring the Fuller & Johnson engine back to life.