Inside assembly room at Bates and Edmonds Motor Co. Model A vertical engines being assembled.
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.