Verne Kindschi, author of the Fuller and
Johnson Story I and II, and who possesses the engine production
records for Fuller and Johnson, said this engine is perhaps the
oldest Fuller and Johnson around today. According to American
Gasoline Engines Since 1872 by C.H. Wendel, F and J first
manufactured engines in 1900 under Gisholt Machine Co., a side
project of founder John Johnson. After John’s death in 1901,
Gisholt was acquired by Fuller and Johnson, when John’s son Carl
was elected president of the company.
Kindschi suggests this engine, serial no. 136, was probably
built in 1904 and was the 36th engine out the door of the F and J
factory, because the first serial number was 101. He cannot verify
the year for sure, as the very first production record book was
lost before he received the records.
Not only is this engine rare because it was one of the first out
the door, but also because it is a water tank-cooled model.
Kindschi said most of the very early F and Js were oil-cooled, as
most of the ones left today are. According to Nick Lozzi, who runs
his own F and J website, this engine is somewhat of a mystery.
While the water tank-cooled model was definitely an option in the
first years, no one knows for sure whether or not the option was
available from the beginning of production in 1902.
Owner Tom Winkler said this engine was used to run a line shaft
in a wagon building shop in the La Crosse, Wis., area. Tom said the
previous owners remembered seeing the engine at work in the wagon
shop when they were young. The F and J was removed from the shop
some 50 years ago and was never run or shown until August 2005. Tom
bought the engine 100 percent complete in May 2005, but it was in
need of essential repairs, as any 100-plus-year-old engine would
be. It was completely restored just in time (the night before) for
the August 2005 Badger Steam and Gas Engine Show in Baraboo,
Tom thanks Don Blausey of Baraboo, Wis., for assisting in the
necessary machining in the rebuilding of this engine and his
father, Don Winkler, for getting him hooked on a great hobby with
so many great people!
Contact engine enthusiast Tom Winkler at: N. 265 County A, New
Holstein, WI 53061; (920) 894-3106.
Visit Nick Lozzi’s website at: www.oldengine.org/
For more information on Fuller and Johnson engine history,
contact Verne Kindschi at: S. 9008B Ush 12, Prairie du Sac, WI
53578; (608) 643-3915.