6190 Keller Ave Newfane. New York 14108
Members of the Society of Friends came early as settlers to the fruitful land of western New York's Niagara County. Several towns and villages had congregations of 'Friends,' people known for their peaceful, ethical, and industrious lifestyle. Running from the shore of Lake Ontario some fourteen miles south almost to Gasport, Quaker Road serves as a monument to these early settlers known outside their community as 'Quakers' but among themselves as 'Friends.' From these people, Friend Manufacturing Company took its name.
The Hull family of Gasport was not least among the town's Quaker community. In 1891, the sons of Reverend George Hull decided to embark on an enterprise in mechanical repair. The boys set up shop in a building measuring some 6 by 10 feet in dimension. It is supposed that all sorts of repair jobs came their way. Apparently, one common line of work was the repair of hand powered pumps used to apply pesticides to orchard and garden crops. Another endeavor that promised a future was bicycle manufacturing. Prior to 1895, the Hull brothers made bicycles under the trade name 'Quaker Bicycle.' The selection of 'Quaker' spoke of their commitment to quality workmanship and ethical dealing. Unfortunately, it was learned that another company, Pennsylvania Manufacturing Company of Erie, Pennsylvania, was also making bicycles under the 'Quaker' name. The Hull brothers had prior rights, but decided to sell the rights to Pennsylvania Manufacturing. It had occurred to Warren Hull that an even more appropriate trade name might be 'Friend.' The new name not only was emblematic of the application of religious principles to business practice, but it was also an astute marketing decision. Today, the computer age term 'user friendly' has come to mean a machine or device that is easy to learn to use. In the late 1890s, 'Friend' may have been exactly what farmers and growers were looking for in their fight against crop loss.
By 1897, experience gained in repairing pumps convinced the inventive Hull brothers that they could design and build a better product. The Hull brothers began manufacturing hand powered spray pumps and marketing them under the 'Friend' brand name With continued growth and success, the Hull brothers expanded their business, and during or shortly after 1901, formalized their company's name to 'Friend Manufacturing Company.' Also in 1900 and 1901, Friend began experimental work to link their hand powered spray pump with a gasoline engine to produce the first powered sprayer. By 1903, the Hulls had perfected their design and issued a sales catalogue to advertise both their hand powered pump and their remarkable new invention. In the ensuing years, innovations in spraying poured from Friend design tables. The Hull family retained ownership of the Company until 1945. Today, Friend Manufacturing Company continues in business as a manufacturer of sprayers. Started in 1895, Friend celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
Few will dispute that Friend Manufacturing Company was innovative in its approach to engine and pump design for agricultural sprayers. Perhaps the best example is the Pony-CX-EX-EXA line of single flywheel, closed water hopper engines. These are the engines with the rounded domes sprouting a pressure gauge out of the top. Rather than evaporative cooling common to the open hopper engines, these domed engines depended on two factors to keep them cool and running. The engine's companion pump sucked the cool spray material from the sprayer tank through the pump and around the hot cylinder before shooting it out at the world of worms, molds, fungi and other vermin. The dome of the engine held the pressure up and kept it steady at 250 pounds for the little CX model and 400 pounds for the big EXA, both at 600 rpm maximum. When the spray material left the spray-gun nozzle it took with it the heat of the engine. As long as the pump operated and spray material remained in the tank, all was well. When the spray material ran out, it was time to shut down the engine and head back to the barn for more spray and maybe a fresh team. Fill the grease cups on the pump cylinders, give them a twist and back to the orchard to spray another block. Friend's domed engine certainly was, for many a farmer and grower, the little engine that could.
Friend's venture into the closed hopper domed engine line appears to have taken place about 1911. A company catalog issued for 1911 makes no mention of a domed engine. A Friend owner's manual and parts list booklet, printed in 1914, contains a schematic of a closed hopper, domed engine. Friend chose a series of code names to list all its engines; in this case 'Pony' was used. The booklet also contains a similar description for the 'Western' engine, an open water hoppered bigger model destined to become the 'DX' model. The early 'Pony' engines are shown as having Friend's name and address cast into the side of the dome. The gas tank was located on the back of the dome over the crankcase. A 1911 start-up date for the domed engine line is given some support by a statement in a 1923 Friend catalog that the engines had been in production for 12 years.
As mentioned in previous articles, the period 1914 to 1916 was a time of design transition for Friend Manufacturing Company. In its early years, Friend tried to address many farm tasks with one machine. Engines were promoted as useful on and off the sprayer. Catalogs dating to 1908 and 1909 contain photographs of farmers sawing wood and chopping fodder with Friend air-cooled engines. (One Friend air-cooled engine even appears powering a rail track service car used by the New York Central and Hudson River Railway.) Explanations are given as to how the farmer may remove the pump and attach a belt pulley to the crankshaft. Friend even pictured an externally cooled engine with a water well pump-jack modification available to the buyers of Friend engines. After 1916, the advertisement of a general purpose engine ceased. The application of pesticide became the main focus of Friend's design and marketing strategy. Before 1916, spray was applied through nozzles attached to eight or ten foot long steel or bamboo tubes. This style of application required farmers to stand high atop a tower located above the spray tank. The tower man stuck the nozzle into the tops of the tree while another man on the ground caught the lower limbs. By 1916, the long, cumbersome tubes were obsolete. Friend's newly introduced spray-gun, a 27 inch long brass wand with on/off valve and nozzle, used high pressure from the pump to shoot spray into the tops of trees. Open crankcase became closed and sealed. Grease cups on engine main bearings disappeared, the bearings now oiled internally by the pressure generated inside the crankcase. Open water hopper engines were standardized in external size and shapes. However, the little domed engine survived this period with few apparent changes to emerge in two sizes, the smaller 2 HP 'CX' engine and, by 1923, the larger 3 HP 'EX' model. This engine, in a souped-up model, would continue to be offered by Friend Manufacturing Company to the very end of the Friend flywheel engine era.
With one notable exception, the lifespan of Friend domed engines is fairly predictable. The movement from battery and coil ignition to magneto spark caused some redesign to accommodate the EK Wico magneto used. To make room for the magneto, the gas tank was shoved to the pump side of the engine as far as it could go. The timing gear/exhaust valve cam shaft was modified by using the shaft housing to carry the magneto bracket. The spark adjustment lever was removed and an eccentric added immediately adjacent to the timing gear. As the eccentric turned, it actuated the magneto to time the spark. The timing gear was driven by the bull gear, which in turn was driven by a small gear on the engine crankshaft located between the main bearing and the flywheel, just as on the battery and coil model.
The most interesting variation in this period did not involve the Friend domed engine but its companion pump. When considering the Friend domed engine, the pump has to be taken in as part of the discussion for two reasons. In operation, the engine is dependent upon the pump to keep it cool. Friend literature does advise that, with the removal of the gauge or plug on top of the dome, the engine may be run without the pump as long as the pressure dome is filled with water. However, with the pump in place and operating, the engine can go all day and remain well cooled. With no pump in place, the engine has little other application than exhibiting. The pump is dependent on the domed engine for a pressure/surge chamber. In good respectable Quaker fashion, the Hull brothers made a perfect marriage, with one partner dependent on the other for smooth operation, and years of working' together. Farmers and growers, in my experience, are generally conservative in nature and great respectors of tradition. But when it comes to machinery, '''til death do us part' has no meaning. Farmers, a commendably religious lot, believe firmly in 'life after death' where machinery is concerned. Over the years, I have seen several Friend pumps whose marital companion died at the hands of the farmer-mechanic. A favorite trick in this neck of the woods was for the farmer to gut the unfortunate engine, throwing away piston, rod, timing mechanism, and carb. Once the 'junk' had been removed, a PTO shaft was grafted onto the stub end of the crankshaft next to the flywheel. Here was a brand new machine! Sometimes, perhaps motivated by a painful recollection of starting difficulties, even the flywheel disappeared! Some farmer mechanics even went so far as to replace the crankshaft with a straight piece of drill rod. Most, however, left the crank and its little gear in place to drive the bull gear. The pump, of course, was left alone to continue life without its 'better half.'
All EX and EXA model motor-pumps (Friend's name for the duet) were designed with two horizontally opposed pump plungers. Located on either side of the rectangular 'scotch yoke,' the plungers moved back and forth, driven by an eccentric attached to the flywheel engines. The exception to the rule is found on 'CX' model motor-pumps. The 'CX' engine carried a single plunger. The 'scotch yoke' assembly was used, but the mono-plunger was counter-balanced by a metal guide shaft on the other side of the yoke. This shaft, first round but later square, traveled in a babbitted bearing to maintain the back and forth motion of the yoke and opposing plunger. The pump otherwise operated just as its bigger cousins, circulating spray material into the engine and around the hot cylinder before sending it out onto the targeted crops.
The Friend 'Pony' engine was later designated as the 'CX' model. The single pump plunger to the right was linked to a plunger guide, at left, by a scotch yoke assembly.
The CX engine, starting life about the year 1911 as the 'Pony' model, was rated at 2 HP. By 1923, the engine was re-rated at 2.5 HP, capable of applying five gallons of spray a minute at a maximum of 600 rpm. By 1933, neither the single plunger CX motor-pump, nor the double plunger EX motor-pump were offered in Friend Manufacturing sales catalogs. The EX motor-pump was last rated as a 3 HP engine supplying eight gallons a minute at 300 pounds pressure and a maximum 600 rpm. At some point in the very late 1920s or very early 1930s, Friend consolidated all its flywheel engines into just two models. The open water hopper DXA engine, rated at 6 HP, was offered with the domed EXA motor-pump rated at 4 HP. Capable of pushing 10 gallons of spray a minute at 400 pounds pressure and at a maximum of 600 rpm, the EXA lived on until April 1939, when the last unit was assembled and sold. Although not routinely offered in sales catalogs after 1933, the last EX motor-pump, serial number 17574, was assembled into a sprayer on April 5, 1939. It is thought that the sprayer was sold to an owner residing in the state of Virginia. An April 1939 assembly date is well after cessation of advertisement for the EX model. Friend representatives hypothesize that special orders for various flywheel Friend engines were filled by assembling engines from remaining stocks of obsolete parts.
After my article on Friend engine design was published in GEM in No-vember1994 much information new to this writer came in. An air-cooled Friend engine turned up only 50 miles from home. Ron, its owner, graciously allowed me to invite myself over for a look. The engine was in very good shape, with original paint. Ron promised to bring the engine to Newfane Historical Society's Friend Engine Round-Up, and did. The engine performed very well and Ron's willingness to exhibit the engine was much appreciated.
Several early Friend Manufacturing Company sales catalogs turned up, one a just-like-new 1903 booklet featuring the one and only Friend engine powered sprayer. The line drawing shows an engine nothing like Ron's air-cooled 1907 engine, nor its companion water-cooled Friend engine. Shown is an engine with a vertical cylinder and solid compact flywheels of unknown manufacture. At $300.00 for a complete sprayer, the rig was certainly not cheap. The same 1903 catalog also marketed Friend's hand pump sprayer. A 1908 catalog, full of wonderful, photographs of the Friend factory and its sprayers at work, also contains a line drawing of a Friend water-cooled engine. However, the engine did not carry a water hopper, but simply a water jacket with fittings for thermo-syphon cooling to an external water tank. Attached to the engine was a pump jack for pumping well water. Friend designers used the same base for the air-cooled, externally water-cooled, and water hopper cooled engines. The bases, with their timing mechanisms and single flywheel, were completely interchangeable. One could remove four bolts attaching the air-cooled cylinder head; remove the finned head; and in moments replace it with a water-cooled cylinder and hopper. Nice design! All the early bases lacked the cast-in pump brackets. The early Friend bases had bolt-on jackshaft bearings and a couple of bolt holes under the offside main bearing for spray pump attachment. From serial numbers seen so far, the years 1907 and 1910 saw the coexistence of the early air and water-cooled engines with the newly developed water hoppered engines. In an internal struggle, the water-hoppered engines emerged triumphant by 1914.
Being relatively new in the engine restoration hobby, I am reluctant to give tips to others more experienced. Many people have asked me the proper color for Friend engines. Several people have asked me about the lack of a crank-case breather. The lack of breathers on Friend engines caused them to throw oil out of the main bearings and occasionally around the lip of the crankcase cover. Happily, the oil built up, well mixed with dirt, to form a very good paint protector. The color of a Friend engine, universally found under this layer of grime, is a silver gray. So far, the best paint match I've made is to PPG Delstar acrylic enamel tinting base ID# DMR436, with 20 parts per quart of DXR 495 catalyst added. This is a metallic paint but, if the paint is sprayed at a lower pressure than recommended or not reduced as much, the metallic appearance will be reduced. Of course, it can be brushed on if desired.
The important words in the above paragraph are 'so far,' and I would encourage Friend restorers to look for grease or oil build-up and then look under it for their opinion of the best 'silver' color to match. Silver paint, I have found, comes in a wide variety of shades. Original paint should always be compared to commercial paint chips in direct sunlight for a good match. As far as the lack of a breather on Friend engines, there were none. In fact Friend designers counted on the crankcase pressure to force oil into the main bearings as well as into the timing gear shaft to oil the magneto eccentric and yoke. For the engine restorer, the pressure behind the piston can make flipping the flywheel to start a bit difficult. I addressed this problem by removing the engine oiler, installing a close nipple and a pipe 'T' in the crankcase hole for the oiler, and reinstalling the oiler in the top hole of the pipe 'T.' In the horizontal hole of the 'T' I placed a drain cock. Opening the draih cock alleviates the back pressure. When the engine is running, the drain cock is closed to restore crankcase pressure. Very little oil is lost in the process but, from experience, keep the eyes away from the line of fire of the drain cock. A fine mist of 30W oil does nothing good for one's eyesight although I found that I could blink faster than usual! As usual, if readers want to talk with me about their sick Friends, old Friends, or recently acquired Friends, I'll be glad to visit. After all, what are Friends for?