An Engine Named Gus – Part 2 of 2

Visiting Gus’ maker, the Carl Anderson Co., and its successor, W.C. Anderson Co.


| August/September 2016



An Engine Names Gus

A 15-20 hp Anderson featured in the December/January 2010 issue of GEM.

Photo by Curt Holland

Manufacturer: The Carl Anderson Co., Chicago, IL
Serial no.: 232
Horsepower: 2 hp (est./rpm unknown)
Bore & stroke: 4-1/8 in x 6 in
Flywheel dia.: 22 in x 2-1/2 in
Ignition: Igniter (originally; converted to spark plug at unknown time)
Governing: Throttle governing

Last issue, we introduced Gus and described where he had previously lived and how he came to the Coolspring Power Museum in Coolspring, Pennsylvania, in 1971. His name came from his designer, a young Swedish immigrant named Gustaf Joranson. Part 1 detailed many of Gus’ unique features and designs. Joranson soon found employment in Chicago, Illinois, with another Swedish immigrant, Carl Anderson, who built Gus in his factory, the Carl Anderson Co., along with an undetermined amount of his brothers: Only one other is known to me to survive. And so, the Anderson story unfolds.

Carl Anderson

Carl Anderson was born in Sweden in 1851 to Andus Motenson and Anna Christens. He arrived in the U.S. in 1869 at the age of 18, and soon married. He and his wife had three children, and the first, William Carl Anderson, was born in 1875 in Berrien, Michigan. W.C., as he was called, soon became very involved with his father in the engine business, and later started his own firm. Carl died in 1917 and was buried at the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago. W.C. continued to prosper building marine engines, naming his firm the Anderson Engine Co. Although it is unclear when engine production ceased, the Anderson Engine Co. was still very active in 1930. W.C. passed away in 1940, and was also buried in Rosehill Cemetery.

Photo 1 shows the Carl Anderson engine, circa 1902. Note the very pleasant lines and proportions. The mechanism on the side is smooth and blends into the overall design very well. The flywheel size is “just right” and complements the engine’s proportions, giving a pleasing appearance. The museum’s Gus, although a vertical, shares the same pleasant design.

The first mention of the Carl Anderson Co. was found in Gardner Hiscox’s 1898 edition of Gas, Gasoline, and Vapor Engines. Unfortunately, there is no illustration or description of the engine. In 1904, the Chicago City Directory noted that the Carl Anderson Co. was located at 25 North Clinton St., Chicago, and Mr. Anderson resided at 237 Wilson Ave.

A 1902 advertisement is shown in Photo 2. Here the Carl Anderson engine is listed as the “GUS” gas and gasoline engine. Note that it is termed “A Model of Perfection.” It appears that the two names, Gus and Anderson, were used interchangeably as this dual usage was found in many references.