1-1/4 HP Monitor Gas Engine and Edson Mud Pump

Mud pump makeover

| September/October 2004

Circa 1918 Monitor Gas Engine
Baker Mfg. Co.
Year: Circa 1918
Horsepower: 1-1/4
Serial number: 17798
Bore: 3-1/2 inch
Stroke: 4-inch
RPM: 500
Flywheel diameter: 17-5/8 inches
Flywheel width: 2-1/4 inches
Governing: Hit-and-miss
Ignition: Buzz coil and spark plug 

Edson Mud Pump
Company: Edson Mfg. Co.. Boston, MA
Year: 1882?
Additional info: Pumps 1 gallon of water each stroke; "1882" stamped on pump, but no other information is known.

A few years ago, I purchased a Baker Mfg. Co. 51E catalog featuring Monitor-brand engines and equipment. Inside, the catalog shows a photo of a 1-1/4 HP Monitor engine hooked up to a diaphragm pump - sometimes referred to as a mud pump or a trash pump. The only information Baker offers on this setup is a black-and-white catalog photo with a small caption beneath that reads, 'For Trench Pumping.' I thought this was a pretty neat-looking setup, and since I collect Monitor engines I really wanted to add this unique mud pump configuration to my collection.

I searched for these mud pump outfits for a couple of years with no luck, so I figured the only way to ever get one was to build it. It turned out that locating the pump was the hardest part of the whole project - I wasn't even sure of the pump brand in the catalog, but I didn't let that stop me! I got my lucky break while attending a gas engine show at Fort Scott, Kan. An auction was planned at the show, so after making my rounds through all the engine displays I headed on down to see what they were going to auction. I could hardly believe my eyes when I walked up on a mud pump. Right there before me sat the pump I had been searching for! Built by the Edson Mfg. Co. of Boston, the pump was kind of rough, but nothing major was wrong with it. It isn't the same shape as the pump in the black-and-white catalog photo, which probably means it isn't the same brand, but it would do perfectly, nonetheless. I didn't stray far from that spot until the pump was mine.

Now that I had finally obtained the most needed part for this project, I was anxious to get started with the restoration. About the only thing I did to the Edson pump was give it a good sandblasting, replace some of the bolts and the diaphragm, and make a new handle. To date, I still don't know the year the pump was made, although Edson is still in business and still sells the diaphragms for this kind of pump. Additionally, the pump didn't have a patent number cast anywhere on it, but the number ' 1882' is cast in it. Could that be the year the pump was made? It might be since the company has been in operation since 1859.

I located the engine cart in Illinois. It was priced fair, but it would require a 16-hour round-trip drive from our home in Missouri. I wasn't really looking forward to the trip, but we made the deal anyway. My wife, Ruthie, and I set out early one morning to get the cart, returning back home with it by late evening.