Reminiscing about...


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4000 Elks Drive, Las Cruces, New Mexico

First, a few words about the writer. It looks odd, to be living in New Mexico and writing about engines made in Brantford, Ontario, Canada. I was born and raised at Burtch, about five miles from Brantford. I still try to get to a few gas and steam shows in Ontario each year, and know that the GEM and gas engines are big items in Southern Ontario. I also notice very few Goold Shapley Muir (G.S.M.) and fewer J. A. Fellows engines.

I have been told G.S.M. were made in the U.S. by Novo, but there are many differences between Novo and G.S.M. I also have been told that Fellows never made a thing; that the engines were made in U.S. and that everything else was just bought and resold. May I please pass on my memories of G.S.M. and Fellows?

The G.S.M. factory was located on Clarence Street in Brantford, Ontario. They manufactured many farm items such as: windmills, grain grinders, one and two cylinder gasoline engines and tractors. The tractors used the two-cylinder opposed side shaft engines. These two cylinder engines started at about 18 HP, then 22 HP and 30 HP and I believe some much larger as I have some pictures that show the same shaft and valve set up but no water hoppers. The most commonly used by farmers was the 1 HP with the square water hopper, and the 2 HP with the round water hopper. Both these engines had make and break ignitors and were vertical engines.

Near the time G.S.M. closed, about 1920-1925 (not sure of dates) they came out with a small horizontal, hit and miss that they called 'Cub'. The closing of G.S.M. was the start of J. A. Fellows &. Co. Mr. Fellows, called Art by all who knew him, worked as a salesman and erected windmills. When G.S.M. closed, Art along with Tillman Wolf, who was a machinist and another man called Scottie (I don't remember full name) bought quite a few machines and patterns from G.S.M. and started a shop on Colbourne Street. At this time they did not make anything but did subcontract work, custom work and bought and rebuilt all makes of engines.

In the early 1930's Art bought a three-story brick building on Jarvis Street in Brantford, just off Brant Avenue back of the High School. At this time I was working for Robbins and Myers Electric Motors which I left and went to work for Art. Tillman Wolf was lathe foreman and his son Roy was general boss and Scottie was upstairs in charge of assembly. I worked on lathe and boring mill and one of the main jobs on the boring mill was the cylinders for the engines. There was an average of about 9-12 employees.

We made shallow well pressure water pumps, deep well pumps, small hand cement mixers, large engine driven mixers on wheels, 1 HP horizontal engines made from the G.S.M. Cub pattern, and the oil bath pump jack. We got some of our castings from Hartley Foundry in West Brantford, but one truck went to Woodstock twice a week to Crawford Foundry for most of our castings. We made everything we sold except for a few Briggs & Stratton engines that customers might want for big cement mixers. During World War II we did sub-contract work on guns, which were breech parts for artillery guns. Art hired more help, and we worked twelve hour shifts, six days a weekno unions then. We also had one truck that catered to service work on the job, mostly pumps and engine work. I worked the service truck the last while I was with Art. I left and moved to Woodstock to drive transport in the late 1940's and moved to U.S.A. in the early 1950's.

Art lived on a farm on the Burford road about five miles west of Brantford. He died on the farm in the late 1940's and his son took over the Company but died in a couple of years, I believe, from cancer.

Anyone in the Brantford area who might want more information about J. A. Fellows could contact a neighbor farmer who now lives in Burford, Mr. Howard Clark. Also Mr. Harold Gaddie, at Binbrook, Ontario has a large engine collection and knows a great deal about other engines made in Brantford, of which I believe there were six or seven makes.

I have a Fellows oil bath pump jack and a Fellows engine serial no. 288 and a 1 HP G.S.M., serial no. 12886. I have also just acquired a H.L. Hurst 3 HP upright hit and miss along with nine other engines. I need information on the Hurst, as I can't seem to find a word on it.