100 Years of JOHN BEAN SPRAY PUMP COMPANY


| August/September 1985



Mr. John Bean-First hand spray pumps.

The photo taken in 1884, shows Mr. John Bean exhibiting one of his first hand spray pumps.

20531 Black Road Los Gatos, CA 95030

Upon advice of his doctor, John Bean retired to a more healthful climate in 1880 and settled in the little village of Los Gatos on the western side of the Santa Clara Valley in California. Here he bought ten acres of almond orchard and found that he had to spray for an insect that threatened to eliminate the whole orchard. Unable to find a satisfactory sprayer and being an inventive man with several patents in his name, he soon perfected a sprayer with an air chamber which revolutionized the orchard sprayer business. First demonstrated at the California State Fair in 1884, the demand for this sprayer forced the little Company to leave Los Gatos and move to San Jose, about ten miles away.

By 1910 they were using 2 HP Fairbanks-Morse engines on their horse-drawn spray rigs and had expanded to a branch factory in Berea, Ohio. They soon became the largest manufacturers of orchard spray equipment in the world. Along with the spray pumps, it was logical that they made other agricultural machines and they went into large pumps for irrigation projects throughout the West. They bought the Ostenberg Engine Company, also in San Jose, and added this two-cylinder opposed engine to their line. These were ultimately built in five sizes from 10 HP to 32 HP.

In 1914 the Company built the new plant in Lancing, Michigan and closed the smaller facility in Berea. this move also put them close to the Novo engine Company in Lancing and Bean Spray Company ordered the first carload of Novo engines that the Novo Company produced. This association lasted for many years and old sprayers still show up with Novo engines as original equipment.

Many new lines developed as a natural growth of their agricultural interests and plows, fruit grading machinery, high-pressure fire pumps and a host of other equipment were built. One of these, the Bean Track-Pull tractor, came out in 1916. Unique in design, this tractor is articulated with a single track and a riding sulky which carried the plows, cultivators and mowing equipment.

The TrackPull, powered by a four-cylinder LeRoi engine is rated at 6 HP at the drawbar and 10 HP at the belt. It turns in a five-foot radius, making it quite handy for row crops and orhard work. We have a picture from the San ]ose Herald in 1917 showing 17 Track Pulls leaving the San Jose factory. The caption on this picture says 'These will help win the War'! In