Letters and Miscellanies

By Staff
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The engine pictured on the bottom of page 11 of the November
2004 issue (39/11/4C) is a lawn mower engine used on the Coldwell
Lawn Mower Model L. Coldwell used the engine between 1923-1928. A
version of this engine was also used by Fuller & Johnson on
their own mower from at least 1917.

Coldwell was the first mower company in this country to
manufacture a power mower. They offered a gas-powered mower from at
least 1898, with steam being added during the turn of the century.
The gas engine mowers made during the early 1900s used Red Wing
motors. Around 1912, Coldwell introduced a gas-powered walk-behind
mower using Middleton Machine one lungers; Fuller & Johnson
engines were used after Middleton faded. If you have an F&J
with a chain cog on both sides, it could be from a Coldwell.

Larger mowers used various engine suppliers. Coldwell introduced
the Model L using the F&J radiator-cooled engine in time for
the 1923 season. Around this time Coldwell introduced one of the
world’s first electric mowers. Coldwell at this time claimed to be
the largest mower manufacturer in the world. They were making push
mowers, horse-drawn, electric and gas mowers.

The engine on top of the page (39/11/4A) is a Jacobsen mower
engine from the mid-1930s. Toro and Ideal also made their own
engines. The singles and twins were used up until about 1940 when
they were replaced by Briggs & Stratton Ks. A smaller homeowner
mower was introduced at about this time, also using Briggs engines
along with an “improved” commercial unit. Coldwell was bought out
by Portable Products around 1944 and merged with rival
Philadelphia. Mowers using Briggs, Continental, Clinton and other
engines were built until Toro acquired everything around 1950.

It is interesting to wonder whether Fuller & Johnson could
have survived if Coldwell had continued to use Fuller & Johnson
engines into the 1930s. Coldwell sold thousands of power mowers
during the 1930s.

Mike Semanoff
26 George St.
Waterbury, Conn. 06706
elidas@aol.com

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