Bull Dogs Find Their Way Home

By Staff
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Inside assembly room at Bates and Edmonds Motor Co. Model A vertical engines being assembled.
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Madison Bates with his first engine design while employed by the R.E. Olds Motor Company.
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Some of the author's engines: 8 HP Bull Dog, 1 Headless, 1 Bull Pup, 1 A vertical.

812 Givens Road, Hortonville, Wisconsin 54944.

My great-grandfather, Madison F. Bates, of Lansing, Michigan was
one of the many inventors at the turn of the century. Most of his
inventions were farm related, the exception being the Bates
Automobile, for which the selling slogan was, ‘Buy a Bates and
Keep Your Dates.’

Among Madison Bates’ farm related inventions were the
complete line of Bates and Edmonds Motor Company gas engines, the
first being the Model A vertical, followed by the Bull Dog line,
Bull Pups and the Bates all steel tractor, as well as tractor
related equipment.

My mother always hoped she’d find a Bates engine somewhere,
but never seemed to be able to make the right connections to
purchase one. I remember in the early 70’s when asked what she
would do with one if she found it, her answer was, ‘Make a
lamp, or a planter out of it.’ Today she feels much differently
about the Bates engine.

I became interested in the gasoline engines after hearing of my
great-grandfather and his inventions at family gatherings and from
my mother and grandmother. After doing some research of my own into
the history of the Bates Company, I began to search in earnest for
a Bates. At present I have several different styles and models and
am always looking for more.

Each engine has a story to tell. A unique story began when I
heard of a Bull Pup for sale in Lansing, Michigan. Upon arriving
there, I located the engine at the R. E. Olds Museum. The museum is
housed in part of the original Bates and Edmonds Motor Company
factory building. So, I purchased a Bates and Edmonds engine at the
same location where it was built-quite a coincidence! A Bates
engine purchased at the original factory by the great-grandson of
its inventor.

Between my dad, brother, and me, we don’t know whom the bug
has bitten worst! And to think that my great-grandfather played a
major role in our starting our collections, not only of the Bates,
but other engines as well. I only wish I could have had the
opportunity to talk with him myself.

Madison F. Bates died in 1926 at the age of 58. Two of his
children are living at the present time.

If anyone can supply me with knowledge, serial number list,
pictures, or anything about the company for my next article, it
would be appreciated and I will answer all. Also, I’m buying
original literature if anyone has some to sell.

Oh, by the way, my mother never got her Bates engines, but she
has a lovely oil painting of one of my Bulldogs hanging in her
living room.

Editor’s note: David Crandall is currently working on an
in-depth history of the Bates and Edmonds Motor Company and Madison
Bates. Any kind of help would be appreciated.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines