Friend's Unique DOMED ENGINES


| December/January 1995



Company advertising

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.

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.