P.O. Box 1101 Blanco, Texas 78606
I had for some time enjoyed helping my father-in-law work on,
restore, and show his old engines (he’s been at this for
thirty-some odd years). I didn’t really have the time or money
to have one of my own, so I really enjoyed playing with Allen’s
engines and tractors. On my 23rd birthday, three years ago, Allen
and Carole Becker gave me a Fuller and Johnson 1? HP pump jack
So now I had an engine of my very own. It would need some TLC,
and I was just the person for the job. The engine went into the
shop on the farm I work for. I started taking parts off, like I
really knew what I was doing-knowing full well that if I didn’t
know where something went, I could just call Allen.
It was about three months later when I decided my wife Loree and
I should have another engine to play with. So, one evening on our
way back from town, we went down a couple of back roads close to
our house. At the end of one of these roads, we found a very nice
prospect. The place looked like it was about 1930 when all time had
We found the owner of the place and asked if we could look
around for some old gas engines. He told us that he didn’t have
anything like that, but we could sure have a look around. We found
a Model T, several pump jacks, corn shellers and grinders, lots of
horse drawn equipment and rust galore, but no engines. We left and
decided it would be a nice place to take Allen and Carole just to
look at all the old equipment.
It was a couple of weeks before they could come over, so I
worked on the Fuller and Johnson some and waited. When they got
here, we beat a path to the place. Once again we found the owner
and asked if he might have any old tractors. He said he did have
one, but it was missing the engine and trans’ mission. They had
been sold for the war effort. Sounded good to me. He showed us
where it was and we were off to find it.
The tractor was under a cedar tree and most of it was covered in
limbs and other things. After looking it over, I found it was a
10-20 Titan. Well, this I had to have. We also found an unknown big
engine, parts for the Fuller and Johnson, two Fuller and Johnson
pump jack engines, a small unknown engine that we guessed to be a
Titan Jr., and several other neat little toys.
In the meantime, Loree and Carole had found some lightning rods,
old street signs and some depression glass that they were really
putting the eye on. By this time, the nice old man was looking at
us like we were nuts-we were all over his place like ants on
We were now ready to start dealing. I bought the tractor and the
unknown big engine. But while I was admiring my new toys, I could
hear my wife-she sounded like she was in an auction barn. When I
went over, I had to laugh because she was in a bidding war with her
father over the small unknown engine. He won. About the time the
bidding stopped on this, Carole found a neat old street sign that
she made her opening bid on. This item moved very well, but as for
the lightning rods it was a no sell, no way. Yes, you might have
guessed. ‘He might want to use them some day.’
Well now for the work. Lucky for us, we lived three miles away,
so next day Loree and I returned with the J.D. front end loader and
trailer. The Titan was a bit of a chore to get out of its old home,
but armed with a chain saw and J.D. we got it loaded and brought
home. We have since gotten an engine and transmission through ads
The big unknown engine wasn’t as much trouble and it even
unstuck from picking it up. Lucky for us! After getting it home it
went right in the shop to be worked on.
After we got everything freed up and removed, it was all wire
brushed and put back on. We had built a wooden makeshift frame to
put it on for the time being. Several hard hours of spare time
later, Loree and I decided to try and start it.
Oh boy! We primed it and rolled it through about three times,
when it fired and lifted up off our cart about a foot. Well, that
was good enough for us. We had to bolt it all down and try again.
This time we managed to get it to run long enough to get it hot, so
I ran to get the hose and put water in it. But the hopper
wasn’t filling at all.
After closer inspection, I found a crack. This put a whole new
kink in my project. We took the engine completely apart. You could
see the crack this time. It ran the entire length of the block. We
had the block welded in Fredericksburg, but when I got home the
water hopper wouldn’t bolt back on the cylinder because it had
pulled the sides out from the heat. It took some time with an angle
head grinder to repair the problem. After I got it to fit, we put
the whole thing together again.
This time it started on the first pull and ran beautifully. Now
for the next problem. What is it? What color should it be, and what
HP is it? For now, I decided to prime it and ask a few of the guys
what they thought. Everyone had two prime candidates: Nelson Bros.
Jumbo or National Chief.
I decided to paint the engine Nelson Bros green and hope it was
right. We had been to three shows when we went to the state show in
Spegleville. Here a man told us he had an engine that looked just
like it, and it was a Jumbo. The next day of the show, he gave me a
rubbing from his nameplate and a picture of his engine. We then
knew for sure what it was.
When we got back home, it was back to work on the Fuller &
Johnson which was now finished.
The rust must somehow get into your blood and before you know it
you have turned into a rust nut who doesn’t leave the house
without a pair of binoculars. You know you have it bad when your
four year old niece picks up your binoculars and says, ‘I think
I see a piece of rust,’ and you stamp on the brakes without
even looking behind you.
We now have about 20 engines ranging from 30 HP to 1? HP, and
six tractors. But for some unknown reason, we’re still looking
in every hedgerow and farmyard along the back roads!