Friend’s Unique DOMED ENGINES

By Staff
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Early Friend Manufacturing Company advertising took many forms and was often humorous and whimsical. Here an ink blotter carries a drawing of two unemployed birds who blame Friend for taking their jobs.
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Photographed in front of Friend Manufacturing Company offices this circa 1927 'EX' model sprayer is typical of one of the most common chassis types offered by Friend. Another popular offering was the skid modela complete sprayer on skids for the
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The 'EXA' model motor-pump was the last model of the Friend pressure dome engine and pump combination to be offered. The basic design of the engine varied little; the double plunger pump, shown above, was typical of the 'EX' and '
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Until the Hull brothers attached their hand spray pump to a gasoline engine, orchard spraying required at least one person to operate the hand pump and another to apply the spray. The cover of the 1903 Friend sales catalog pictures Friend's engine powered
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A 1908 catalog pictured what was probably Friend's first production water-cooled engine. The engine depended on an external source of cooling liquid to dissipate the heat of combustion. Note hose fittings on the top and side of the water jacket. The engin
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The author's traveling Friend engine exhibit. On the left is a 1929 EXA model motor-pump; at center a 1910 motor-pump with typical slab-sided water hopper; at right the DXA model motor-pump featured in the September, 1992 GEM and now restored.

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

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

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?

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