Big Time In Baraboo

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Fuller & Johnson 5 HP Model DE, serial number 5250, shipped out in 1910. Owned by Gordon Ferguson, Morris, Illinois.
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Fuller & Johnson 2 HP Model N, serial number 84468, shipped out on October 2, 1923, owned by Paul Davis of Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin.
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Jerry Swedberg's 6 HP oil-cooled F&J, serial number 972. This engine, which retains its original radiator, was built in 1905 and was shipped on September 22, 1906 to Wahpeton, North Dakota.
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1910 1 HP farm pump Fuller & Johnson engine #22847, owned by Randy and Jeremy Ackley of Cadott, Wisconsin.

Keeping our noses to the grindstone day in, day out to get the
pages of Gas Engine Magazine together for our readers doesn’t
always leave us here at GEM with much time to get out to as many
shows as we’d like. Of course, we always try to get to the ones
in our own backyard, and some of us rely on the Show Directory to
help us plan our vacations, but we never get out to see as many of
our engine friends as we’d like.

I did get a chance this summer to make a special trip to
Baraboo, Wisconsin, home of the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club,
for their 29th annual show August 21-23, 1992. The featured event
at this year’s show was ‘The Great Fuller & Johnson
Rally.’

The sun shone hot and bright on the Sauk County Fairgrounds as
exhibitors gathered from points far and wide to show off their
engines, tractors, and steam traction engines. By the close of the
show, over 8,000 spectators and several hundred exhibitors had
enjoyed the well-organized displays.

Several steam engines took their turn at working the sawmills,
threshing, and hulling clover. Bleacher seats were provided for
spectators at the sawmill, and they were filled with young and old
to watch the action.

Rows and rows of tractors were on hand, lined up like soldiers
ready to do battle with the farm chores.

The show boasts an extensive flea market, which grew this year
by 20% over previous shows. Items for sale ran the gamut from
engine and tractor parts (new and used), owner’s manuals and
assorted literature, crafts, gadgets, and scads of antiques.

Let’s see, what else was there? Oh, yes, the engines!
Engines, engines, engines! Hundreds of engines were on display
throughout several areas of the showgrounds. A good portion of the
engines were in working order, and popped along all day.

Unique displays abounded, including a solar hot air engine
designed by Phil Manke, and a colorful collection of hog oilers
shown by Badger club president Bob Coates and his wife Louise.
There is also a large building devoted to small scale models, and a
building housing the club’s collection of stationary steam.

Over 180 Fuller & Johnson engines were registered for
exhibit, and a full range of F&J models could be seen. Helping
you keep track of time as you viewed these engines was the original
whistle from the Fuller & Johnson factory, which blasted out a
deep bellow on a regular schedule.

Verne W. Kindschi of Prairie du Sac, Wi., Badger club member,
spearheaded the organization of the F&J Rally with the help of
his wife Pearlie; they sure did a fine job! Verne currently has in
his possession all the records of the Fuller & Johnson Company,
and recently authored The Fuller & Johnson Story, a brief
history of the Fuller & Johnson Manufacturing Company.

Fuller & Johnson engines were manufactured in Madison,
Wisconsin, which is located less than an hour away from Baraboo.
One of the special activities of the Rally was a bus trip to
Madison to view the old F&J factory buildings. The
company’s office building, now vacant, looks much the same as
it did when the company was in operation. The factory building
still retains its sawtooth roof, and the smokestack is still
standing, although the exterior of the building has been
‘modernized’ and now houses offices. The warehouse to the
rear of the factory is still recognizable as well, although it too
has had modern touches such as metal siding added to it.

Imagine our surprise when we arrived at the warehouse to find an
F&J engine sitting on the loading dock waiting for shipment! A
nice touch, Verne!

After walking around the company buildings for a short time,
rally participants loaded back onto the buses for a guided tour
around the city of Madison, a gem of a city nestled around five
sparkling lakes.

On return to Baraboo, Rally-goers were ready for a delicious
banquet. Highlights of the evening were a presentation to Verne
Kindschi of a plaque naming him ‘Mr. Fuller & Johnson’
and thanking him for his tireless efforts to make F&J
information available to all who need it, and a keynote address by
GEM’s own ‘olde Reflector,’ Charles Wendel.

The evening was capped off with a dance in the grandstand
pavilion back at the fairgrounds.

Sunday opened with church services on the grounds, and continued
with an easygoing day of engine, tractor, and machinery
exhibits.

The Badger club is already working hard on plans for the 1993
show, scheduled for the third full weekend of August. Special plans
include the Midwest Corn Collectors’ annual meet.

I can encourage anyone to attend the Baraboo show. The Badger
club obviously puts a lot of work and thought into organizing their
show, and it was quite a pleasure to attend. And they are the
friendliest people! I had a great time, and I guarantee you will
too.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines