The Fuller & Johnson Model N & K Engines

Model K

Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route I, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.

Verne W. Kindschi

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Route 1, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.

This is another in a series of short articles about the Fuller & Johnson Company and the engines they built. This particular article will be concerned with the F & J Model N and K engines; also, will give a little information about the F & J 32 Volt light plant.

As most GEM readers know, several years ago I obtained the original records of the Fuller & Johnson Company of Madison, Wisconsin. Since then I have become interested in the company and the various engines built by them. Therefore, I have been doing some research trying to learn more about them.

In an earlier article I covered the double efficiency F & J, which was their first hopper-cooled engine. These were very heavy and were well built engines. However, to meet their competition they had to build a lighter and less expensive engine to market. Thus, they came out with the Model N engine, and later the Model K.

The Model N engine actually came out on May 8, 1912, starting with about Serial No. 7800. These first ones were called the Peoples Price engines. It was first called the Model N on June 20, 1913. Basically, the Peoples Price engines were just like the Model N except the flywheels were heavier and had the bolted hub on them. The People's Price engines were built in 1?, 2? and 4

HP sizes. The VA HP is the only one which was different from the cype N. These were really quite different--anyone who has one is fortunate as they are real old and few were built. They began to call these Peoples Price engines the Model N, and they were available in 1?, 2?, 4, 6, 8 and 10 HP; some of the sizes coming out at different times.

F & J introduced the Model K in May, 1913. Model N means the engine is a hit and miss gasoline engine; Model K means it is a throttling governor engine, burning kerosene. Apparently there were a very few exceptions to this in the early Model K engines--a very small number of these used a hit and miss type governor. I would imagine they learned very early that this was not efficient, as unless they were run under heavy load they would not run hot e-nough to burn kerosene efficiently.

By July of 1913 all these engines were listed as N's and K's. In 1914 F & J introduced the largest size N engine that they ever built--a 12 HP. These were also built in the Model K.

Until 1914 all the large engines (10 HP and over) were double efficiency sideshaft engines. In 1914 F & J introduced the Model K in sizes 15, 20 and 25 HP. These were built quite differently from the smaller Model K engines. They were very heavily built and had a vertical flyball governor, rather than the horizontal flyball governor the smaller ones had. As of this time, I have recorded only one of these--it is a 20 HP portable, S. No. 54492 owned by Donald Wittenburg, Middleton, Wis. This engine was shipped from the factory Nov. 16, 1916.

All other Model N and K engines, except the 1? IIP Model N, used a horizontal gear driven flyball governor. The 1? HP had the governor weight in the flywheel. The smallest Model K engines were the 2? HP. The other sizes of Type K engines corresponded with the same sizes of Model N engines. In fact, the basic engine was the same. They used the same basic block, ignition, etc-- only changed the carburetor and governor systems.

Most Model N & K engines were equipped with igniter ignitions. The early engines were equipped with 5 dry cell batteries and a low tension coil. In a-bout 1916 the low tension, gear driven magneto was put on at an extra cost. During the first years a low percentage were shipped with magnetos; however, by 1920, fifty per cent were and by 1922 about ninety percent were shipped with magnetos. F & J used several different mags--Sumpter, Elkhart, Split-dorf, Accurate and even the Wizzard Oscillation Magneto was available.

The large size Model K, built in 15, 20 and 25 HP. Note the large upright flyball governor behind the flywheel. These were built quite differently from the smaller Type K. The F & J sawrig outfit with a 9 HP. Model N engine mounted on it. These were built using the Model K, also looking much the same. These were available with a choice of three different tables on them.

A 9 HP. Model N on a portable horsedrawn outfit. The Model K was also mounted on a truck like this. At bottom is the F. & J. No. 15 light plant outfit. F & J built only the engine--Western Electric built the generator.

A very few Model N & K engines, at the very end of their production, were shipped with a Wico EK magneto and spark plug. I have a 9 HP K which was shipped with a Wico EK. Then, also, there are a few F & J N's and K's a-round which were shipped with an igniter--later having a Wico Conversion Kit put on. These kits were available from F & J and also from Wico. Wico sold these kits to fit almost any make engine, making it possible to convert them from ignitor to their Wico EK and spark plug ignition.

At the very end of the year of 1919 F & J speeded up all their engines 50 RPM and rerated the HP, except for the 1? HP Model N. At this time the 2? was changed to 3, the 4 to 5, 6 to 7, and the 8 HP changed to 9. At this time the original 10 HP size was dropped.

In 1923 F & J came out with the Model NA. Just what the difference was between the N and NA, I have not been able to see or find out. The Model NA was built in 3, 5, 7, 9 and 12 HP. Apparently they built the Models N and NA at the same time. The 1? HP was never built in the NA.

In 1924 F & J built a new type engine which was a 2? HP, and was called the type N. This engine was later given 50 RPM more and was equipped with a Wico EK mag and spark plug--it was the popular 3 HP Model NB. These new type engines had a wide-crowned flywheel, the governor weight was in the flywheel. They had a much smaller base and ran much faster. These NB models came out in 1925 and at the same time the Models N, K and NA were dropped. In the future I plan to write an article about the NB and later hopper-cooled engines.

F & J built about 58,000 Model N & K engines in all and about 2,000 NA engines. These N and K engines were accepted very well. Having talked to many fellows who bought them new, I have heard only praise about them.

The oldest Peoples Price engine I have on record is No. 7826, a 4 HP, which was shipped May 27, 1912--now owned by Lynn Grotophorst, Sauk City, Wis. The oldest Model N I have recorded is a 2? HP S No. 11787 owned by Clarence Brenengen, Galesville, Wis. This was shipped July 7, 1913. The oldest K I have recorded is S No. 12400, shipped Nov. 20, 1913, and is now owned by Alvin W. Buller, Aurora, Nebraska. This is a 2? HP engine with a hit and miss type governor.

I will not go into too much detail a-bout the F & J 32 Volt Light Plants. They built two sizes of these--the Number 8 and the Number 15. The 8 was a smaller outfit with about a 2 HP engine-- the 15 was larger with a 3 HP engine. I have one of the Number 15 in my collection. To date I have not seen an 8, except in the instruction book which I have for them. F & J built the engines and assembled the whole outfit. However, the generator part was built by Western Electric. Parts of the control panel were built by General Electric. These outfits were sold under the F & J name and also under Western Electric name. Mine had just a F & J decal on it and had a Western Electric plate on the generator cover. As far as f know, F & J didn't ever put their tag on them, so I'm unable to look these up, as to manufacture date. In general appearance they look somewhat like a Delco Plant, but are larger and much heavier. They were all throttling governor and were; able to burn kerosene, as well as gasoline. These light plants first came out in 1924.

I have had an original part and Instruction book for the Model N, 3-5-7-9 and 12 HP, reprinted. This is reprinted just like the original and 1 sell these for $2 each, Postpaid. Also, I have had reprinted a F & J catalog which was originally printed in 1919. This 40 page catalog shows pictures of all their engines, including the N, K, pump, sawrig and others, along with many other accessories. It gives specifications, weights and prices of them. These sell for $2.50.

The original F & J Trademark decals for the water hopper are still available at $1 per set of two decals. I might say again, the original color for F & J was a green, like the present day New Idea Farm Implement Green. Striping was done in yellow and the skids and wood battery box were red.

Anyone interested in knowing when and to whom their F & J engine was shipped may send me the Serial Number and Model, if known, and I will look it up in the records. I will then send this information to you. For this service I charge 50? for the first engine and 25? for each additional one.

At top is a Model N with a magneto ignition. At bottom is a 3 HP. Model N engine mounted on a hand cart.

The Peoples Price engine. Note that the flywheels are the only noticeable difference from the Model N. Typical Model K or kerosene burning, throttling governor engine. The basic engine was the same as the Model N, except for the fuel mixer and the governor system.

The F & J Model N with the full-cast base. All the early N's were this type. Later they were available either this way or on the shorter base with skids under it.

A Model N with battery ignition. This is probably a 4 HP. Some had a full cast-iron base and others were slide mounted like this one. Lower picture is the typical 1? HP. Model N. Note the governor weight in the flywheel.. Only the 1? HP. had this type of governor system--the larger engines used a gear driven flyball type. This is one of the later engines--the earlier ones had a narrower flywheel with a larger diameter.