The Fuller and Johnson Farm Pump Engine

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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route 1, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route I, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route 1, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route I, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Courtesy of Frank Samson, Jr., Box 601, Tolono, Illinois 61880.
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route 1, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi Route I Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi Route I Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route 1, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Courtesy of Verne W. Kindschi, Route 1, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578.
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Route 1 Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578

In the past, I have written a couple of articles about the
history of the Fuller & Johnson Company (F & J), Madison,
Wisconsin and the engines they built. Many of you know that I got
the records of the F & J Company several years ago. Since then
I have tried to find out all I can about the history of the company
and their engines by studying the records, old books and talking
with former employees.

This article is about what I have been able to gather together
regarding the air-cooled Farm Pump Engine, (FPE). The FPE was,
I’m sure, the engine that F & J was best known for, and
they built more of these than any other single model. This engine
is unusual for the fact that they run in the opposite rotation of
most engines. They are different also, because they have just one
flywheel, use the auxiliary exhaust port system, and are unusual
looking.

The FPE came out in 1909 and were built until 1952, with the
same basic design. There were some minor changes made over the
years, and I will explain these in this article.

Mr. Frank Winkley, who was chief engineer for F & J,
designed and patented the FPE. For this he received $1 per engine
that the company built. This may not sound like much for his
efforts, but one has to remember the value of the dollar in these
years and the fact that at one time F & J were building one
hundred of these engines per day. This was a sizable income for Mr.
Winkley.

The first type of the F & J Farm Pump Engine. Note the wood
base, plain flywheel and that there is no battery box attached.
Taken from a 1910 catalog.

A later model farm pump engine. This one still has the plain
flywheel, but has the battery box attached and an all steel base.
Taken from a 1915 catalog.

A late model of the farm pump engine. Note this one has the
printed flywheel and the spark plug has been moved from the
cylinder to the head. This engine is S. N. 110659, built about
1920, and is in my collection.

The Manitoba engine owned by Elmer Haecker, Blue Rapids,
Kansas,’ Box 44, 66411. Notice how similar it is to the F &
J Multimotor.

Mr. Sever Thingstead of Madison, from whom I got the records,
said that for four or five years in the early 1920’s, they were
shipping three carloads of these engines each week to Texas, where
they would be used to pump oil with. Mr. Thingstead, who is 86
years young, worked for F & J all his working days. From 1945
until 1954 he and the late Mr. West owned the company. Sever told
me that originally these engines sold for $69.95, with battery
ignition. In 1917 they were listed at $85. However, the last ones
built in 1952 sold for $179.95, with a Wico EK Magneto. After 1932
not too many of these were built, and those that were built were
hand built out of the tremendous parts inventory which was left
over after the original F & J Company had to go out of business
in 1932. In 1952 they only built and sold four of these
engines.

The F & J Multimotor built from the basic farm pump engine.
Very few of these were built, as they were not successful.

As near as I can tell, F & J built about 65,000 of these
engines. The first ones were built in 1909 and started with S. N.
20279 — they ran consecutively through 49999; then 100,000 to
about 133,000. I was unable to obtain the first shipment book and
I’m afraid it is lost forever; however, I can look up any FPE
from S. N. 116,950 to 126,470 and find out when it was shipped and
to whom. Anyone interested in finding out the age of their F &
J engine, pump or hopper cooled, can send me the Serial Number,
Horsepower and Model (if known). I have to charge fifty cents for
the first and twenty-five for each additional. But bear in mind
that I can only supply information on the FPE engines with S.
N.’s between 116,950 and 126,470. I do have all the engine
records on the other types of F & J’s.

I’m sending along some pictures which will show some of the
changes and variations of these engines. It is easy to tell the
very first of the FPE, as they had the plain flywheel (no
printing), a partial wooden base, the spark plug was in the
cylinder, the grease cup right on the connecting rod and a large
drawn fuel tank. The very, very early does did not have the battery
box built on the engine — in fact, they didn’t even have the
bracket cast onto the base to hold the battery box.

The F & J model JA engine, also built from the basic farm
pump engine. These were built later than the Multimotor and were
more successful. However, not very many were built.

Just when they started to put their name on the flywheel, use a
steel base and a soldered fuel tank instead of the drawn fuel tank,
I cannot be sure. The spark plug was moved from the side of the
cylinder to the cylinder head starting with SN 102,701. The drilled
crankshaft with the grease cup on the end of the crankshaft outside
of the engine, instead of the grease cup right on the connecting
rod inside the engine started with SN 102,791. This was a real
improvement, as before one had to stop the engine and open a door
on the side to turn the grease cup down on the rod. These two
changes probably came about 1920. Another small change came in 1924
with S. N. 117804, when the shield on the bevel pump gear was
extended around on the lower half.

Most of these FPE used four dry cell batteries and high tension
coil. However, as early as 1917 a high tension gear-driven magneto
was available for an extra $30. Of course, in the later years most
engines were shipped with a Wico EK Magneto.

Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578 Some of the other types of pumps
that the basic farm pump engines were attached to – taken from a
1910 catalog.

Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578 Picture taken from 1910 catalog
showing the farm pump engine being used to power a grindstone.

The oldest FPE I know of at the present time is one owned by
Ruben Michelson of Anamoose, South Dakota. Ruben’s engine is S.
N. 20600, so this would have been built about 1909.

The FPE were also used with several other types of pumps, other
than the deep well. They had them set up to be used on pressure
pumps, force pumps, diaphragm pumps and spraying outfits. Also, I
have seen an advertisement in an old marine magazine where they
were used on a bilge pump for boats.

From the basic FPE they built the multimotor for general light
belt power The only real change in it was the base it sat on and
the addition of two pulleys, and of course, leaving off the gearing
for the pump jack. Mr. Thingstead told me that these were not
successful, as they did not develop the 1? hp. as they were
supposed to. He said, geared down like they were on the pump, they
would develop over 1? hp. However, the belt hp. on a multimotor was
only about ? hp. I don’t know of any collectors who have a
multimotor; however, if anyone does they have a real rare engine as
very few were built.

Picture of the Coldwell, Model L, Lawnmower, taken from the
Coldwell instruction book. This has the engine on it that F & J
built for Coldwell.

My own Coldwell, Model L. When this picture was taken I had not
restored it yet, but is now almost completed. This had the F &
J engine on it and was built in 1924.

After this they built the model JA, which like the multimotor
used the basic FPE parts. However, they used two heavy flywheels
and were able to turn out the rated 1? hp. Being these were not
accepted by the public, very few of these were built and sold. I
don’t know of any of these in the hands of collectors either. I
have seen a number of FPE at different shows and they are always
real attention getters and make a nice show piece. When they are
running they have a sound which is easy to distinguish from the
other engines.

The FPE used an auxiliary exhaust port on the bottom of the
piston stroke. This port was mainly for cooling the engine. Near
the end of power stroke, about 90% of the exhaust gases went out
this port. Very little exhaust actually came out of the top exhaust
valve in the head. The exhaust valve in the head actually did more
to cool the engine than it did for exhausting gases. Between the
times of firing, this top valve was held open, allowing cool air to
be circulated in and out of the cylinder. Originally F & J
furnished a muffler for only the bottom exhaust port.

Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578 This F & J engine built for
Coldwell, is owned by Melvin Fox, Route 6, Jackson, Michigan
49201.

Since the article that I wrote in the March – April 1968 issue
of GEM, I received this picture from Robert Swanberg, Route 1,
Prole, Iowa, 50229. This shows a complete F & J oil-cooled
engine which I wasn’t able to show in the article. This is the
oldest F & J engine I know of at this time – a 3? hp. S. N.
226, and I’m sure it was built in 1903.

Thanks to Stanley Moe of DeForest, Wisconsin, I received this
picture of Mr. Sever Thingstead actually closing the door of the F
& J company for the last time. This was taken by Mr. Moe in the
fall of 1954. It was from Mr. Thingstead that I got the F & J
records. Sever is now a very young 86 years old and enjoys telling
about his experiences at F & J.. He started working for F &
J in 1901 and continued with them until 1947, when he and Mr. West
bought out what remained of the company. Thus, this was the end of
the F & J Company of Madison, Wisconsin.

There were several changes in the mixer over the years, but the
same basic design was used. All the changes made seemed to be in
the choking device.

Mr. Thingstead told me that a company in Brandon, Manitoba,
Canada copied the pump engine. So F & J took them to court, won
the case, and the Manitoba company had to stop building them.
Enclosed is a picture of one of these engines, called the Manitoba
Engine. This picture is one of the engines from the collection of
Elmer Haecker of Blue Rapids, Kansas. You’ll notice how much it
looks like the multimotor. Except for the first letter of the parts
number cast into the various parts, in most cases the number was
the same on the two engines.

The FPE was rated at 1? hp., ran at a speed of 500 R. P. M. The
speed of the intermediate shaft was 150 R. P. M. and it pumped 35
strokes per minute. The shipping weight was 335 pounds. Originally
the FPE was painted a green — the same shade as the present day
New Idea Farm Implement Machinery, with a silver cylinder and head.
This same green was used on hopper-cooled engines. Striping was
done in yellow.

A picture taken at Sauk City, Wisconsin, during the 1968
Summerfest Parade. The engine is my 8 hp. Lauson ‘Frost
King.’, S. N. 10238, Type F, Size CD. The engine was built
around 1914 and weighs 2240 pounds. The cart under the engine is
original, and the reason the engine is turned around is that it was
built as a saw rig. However, I do not have the saw parts which he
mounted on rear of it. The horses pulling the engine are owned and
were driven by Al Fenske, Loganville, Wisconsin.

This is my Monitor Engine, No. 3819. I found this engine in a
junk yard. The water jacket was cracked in two places very
badly.

We ground a V in the cracks with a high speed small emery wheel
and welded it with 100% nickel rod. Have one very small pin hole
that does not leak but about a drop every five minutes.

Well, I was very dumb about Gas Engines and I want to thank all
of my GEM friends who gave me information about it. A special
thanks to Mr. Ted Hunter of Galesburg, Illinois, Jerry Swedburg of
Wahpeton, North Dakota and anyone who has helped me.

The engine was rusted very badly and stuck. It surely used a lot
of penetrating oil but it sure was worth the hard work. I put a new
set of rings in it. She runs nice now.

From some of the mail I received, it seemed there were some
questions regarding this engine — I hope this article will answer
some of these.

I will briefly mention another engine that F & J built. This
is a little one cylinder, vertical, four cycle, radiator-cooled
engine which they built for the Coldwell Lawn Mower Company of
Newburgh, New York. These are very unusual looking little engines;
in fact, they look very much like an old 2 cycle inboard marine
engine.

As near as I can tell from their records, 3255 of these were
built from 1923 to 1927. These engines were used on the Coldwell
Model L mower. F & J built only the engine and Coldwell built
the mower. The engine was actually designed by Coldwell. The little
7? by 8? inch honeycomb radiator was actually used for cooling and
not just a condensing radiator as many of the later Coldwells
used.

I know of only three of these engines in the hands of collectors
now, but I’m sure there must be others. I feel fortunate in
having one of the Coldwell Model L’s in my own collection.

It seems as though Coldwell used a number of different engines
over the years. I am not very well informed on Coldwell, so do not
know how many different makes and types of engines they used. I
only know that the F & J built engine was used only on the
Model L.

I have some four page parts and instructions books for the FPE
printed in 1941, which I will sell for fifty cents each. I have had
a few mufflers cast from an original, out of aluminum — these I
will sell for $2 each. (Limited number, on these.) Also, I have had
the original F & J decals printed — these are exactly like the
original and these I sell for $1 per set of two. These are actually
for the F & J hopper-cooled engines, but look nice on the
battery box of the Farm Pump Engine.

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