A Step Down Memory Lane
3511 Clydewood Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23234-2425
In our May 1999 issue, Tom Cox wrote a story about Willie Collier's Fuller and Johnson water-cooled lawn mower. The following is text from a letter he sent late in May to all of the readers who had contacted him about the mower.
Several people sent a copy of the owner's manual for the Coldwell mower. In fact, I even heard from a relative of the original Coldwell who made and sold those mowers. In case anyone does not have this manual you can get a copy from Verne W. Kindschi, 59008 B U.S. Highway 12, Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin 53578. $5.00 postpaid. Verne is the author of the Fuller and Johnson book, published several years ago.
As I explained in the article, I found many years ago a photostat copy of the owner's manual for a Fuller and Johnson mower. It is missing two pages. As of this time I seem to have the only copy of this manual in existence.
Now, I heard from James B. Ricci, 30 N. Farms Road, Hadenville, Massachusetts 01039-9724. For six years or so he has been researching reel mowers and planning to print a book about them. He has arrived at the dates of 1917 -1922 for production of a Fuller and Johnson mower, and 1922 -1928 for the Coldwell mower. Mr. Kindschi said in his book that it was thought that F. and J. made their own mower, but he had not turned up any information.
I now believe that the mowers with the wood handles, flywheel on the right side (as you hold the handle), and with the drive drum only in the center third of the machine, to have been made by F & J. Then somewhere along the line they made engines for Coldwell who turned the whole works around 180 degrees, and added the longer handles and the drive drum across the full width of the machine. Of course, this is subject to further research if anyone gets lucky enough to find anything more.
I got several tips which might make my machine easier to run and I will try them out. I now know of four engines without the rest of the mower and have a hard time figuring why this was done! And the mower which I saw 25 or so years ago was at the Rough & Tumble collection in Kinzers, Pennsylvania. Where did I get the name that I used in the story?
Thanks for all the help, and if anyone learns more, please let me know of it.