The 3 HP 'NB' engine

The 3 HP 'NB' engine. Note this was the first model over 1 HP that F & J built with the governor in the flywheel.

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Route 1, Prairie Du Sac, Wisconsin 53578

This is another in the continuing series of articles concerning the history of the Full & Johnson Company and the engines built by them. In this article I'll try to cover, briefly, the late models of the F & J hopper cooled engines.

The last article included those hopper cooled engines built up through the Model NA; therefore, this will begin with the Model NB.

The Model NB engines came out during the first part of the year 1925. The very first ones I have been able to find a record of were a 3 HP and a 4 HP shipped to the T. L. Smith Company of Milwaukee on January 21, 1925. These two must have been pilot models. It was interesting to note that the 3 HP engine, which was S#91319, which had been shipped on January 21,1925 to T. L. Smith, was shipped on February 10, 1925 to the Kwick Mix Mixer Company, Port Washington, Wisconsin. Apparently T. L. Smith returned it to the F & J factory after they were done with it.

F & J shipped quite a large number of engines to other companies which built cement mixers, elevators, lawn mowers, etc.; the two companies mentioned above were two of these. The one company which bought more than any other was the Construction Machinery Company of Waterloo, Iowa. They bought several thousand engines from the F & J Company over the years. Other companies receiving quite a number of engines were Koehring Company, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Coldwell Mower Company, Newburgh, N. Y., and the Leach Company, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Many of these companies bought engines in large quantities; as many as 300 were shipped on one order.

By the middle of 1925 NB engines were being shipped regularly, being built in 1?, 2, 3,4,6, 8,10 and 12 HP sizes. This Model NB was the first type engine to be equipped with the Wico EK magneto. Some of the later models, N, NA, K and KA were also shipped with the Wico EK mags. Then, too, F & J sold a conversion to be used for converting igniter engines to the Wico EK and spark plug. Wico also sold these conversions for most all makes of engines.

The Model NB engines were available with a battery ignition, too. These were set up in two ways- either with coil and igniter or with buzz coil and spark plug.

The1? HP NB came out at the end of 1925. Before this time, all 1? HP were the Model N. The 1? HP was never built in a Model NA.

The governor on the 1?, 2 and 3 HP used the governor weight in the flywheel. The 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 HP used the gear-driven flyball type governor. The NB engines were sold steadily up until 1930.

The next model to come out was the NC in 1927. These were of two types; the most popular one was the all new disk flywheel model which was build in 1?, 2, 2? and 2 ? HP. The other was the spoke flywheel which was really about the same as the NB, but with a slightly higher HP. This type was built in 2 and 3 ? HP. The larger sizes were continued as NB up until the end in 1932. Actually, Models N, NA and NB were being shipped at the same time.

As with the NB engines, most all NC engines were equipped with the Wico EK magneto. The NC engines were available as battery models; these used the buzz coil and spark plug. After beginning to use the Wico EK mag, F & J dropped the rotary magneto and igniter in 1925.

The governor system on all NC engines, both spoke and disk flywheel models, used the weight in the flywheel.

 These large size 'NB' engines were exactly like the earlier models 'N' and 'NA.' However, most of them used a Wico EK mag and spark plug.

The F & J, #15, light plant outfit. F & J built the engine and Western Electric built the generator and switchboard. Some of these outfits were sold under F & J name and some under the Western Electric name.

The last hopper cooled engines built by F & J were the model ND. These came out in January of 1930 and were all disk flywheel. Built in 2, 2? and 3? HP, these ND engines looked just like the solid disk flywheel and were the same basic engine.

However, all disk flywheel NC engines used the governor weight in the flywheel, but all ND engines had a gear-driven flyball governor.

The ND were rated ? HP more than their NC counterparts were. The ND engines also used a Wico EK magneto; however, a battery model was available using a buzz coil and spark plug like had been used on the NC models.

Both the disk flywheel NC and ND were available with a tin enclosed crankshaft. When using this attachment, a drip oiler and wiper arrangement were used for lubricating the rod bearing on the crankshaft.

As was mentioned in earlier articles, F & J was forced out of business in 1932. Both the NC and ND models were shipped to the end of their business.

Another engine built just before they closed was the model NK. These were brought out in January, 1930, in 2, 2?, and 3 ? HP.

These were a throttling governor, kerosene burning engine; they looked just like the ND, except for the mixer and governor system. These are very uncommon among collectors today, as I have records of only two of them in the hands of collectors.

As many know, in 1966 Mr. Sever Thingstead of Madison gave me the original F & J Company engine records. Mr. Thingstead worked at F & J all of his working years. When they went out of business, he and a Mr. West bought out all parts, etc. and kept up the parts business until Mr. West passed away. Business was very poor, so he closed the doors forever in 1954. At this time Mr. Thingstead said many, many tons of new parts were junked out. Don't we all wish they were available today! He still lives in Madison and is now about 93 years old. He enjoys talking about the old days at F & J- it's a joy to visit with him.

I have all engine records and will look up any F & J engine to tell the owner when it was shipped and to whom. I charge 50?  for the first engine and 25? for each additional one to cover my costs. To look up an engine, I need the Serial Number. The HP and model helps, too, if you know it. To date I have looked up well over 1200 F & J engines and recorded them.

All the old records are intact except the records are missing for all air-cooled F & J pump engines before S# 116,000. These were lost sometime before I received these records.

I have also reprinted and reproduced some F & J material to help out collectors. The following are available: F & J decals, $1.50 for a set of 2; reprinted 1919 catalog, 40 pages, shows pictures, prices, etc. for all F & J engines ? to 25 HP. -$2.50; 20 page instruction book for Model N engines 3-5-7-9 & 12 HP, reprinted from 1922 .book - $2.00. Instruction & parts list, 4 pages, which covers the disk flywheel NC engines -1? - 2 - 2? - 2? HP - 75?. A 4 page instruction & parts list for the 2 - 2? - and 3 ? HP ND - 75?. Brass Serial Number plates, 2? x 4? inches, for use on older type F & J engines, $2.50.

In the next article, I plan to cover the late models of radiator cooled engines.

Note: For the benefit of the newcomers to the engine collecting honew subscribers to GEM, I'll list the other article about Fuller & Johnson and the issues which they appeared in.