R.D. 1, Box 80 Feura Bush, New York 12067
It all started one quiet evening in March of 1993 while I was sitting in the living room reading old back issues of Gas Engine Magazine. My wife, Liz, called to me and said I had a phone call. My friend Kevin had called to tell me of an ad he found in the Catskill local paper, about 30 miles south of where I live. Under legal notices, it read: 'Notice To Bid Selling by sealed bid the following items: traffic light, '81 Ford, old Wheel Horse tractor.' But the one item which caught his and my attention was an 'Edson antique pump (restorable),' with a set minimum bid.
As he continued telling me about how he had gone down to look at it, and how it looked something like a Fuller & Johnson pump jack engine mounted on a diaphragm pump, my heart started racing and I had a lump in my throat! As he kept telling me all about it, things were going through my mind like, 'Is he going to bid on it? Is he interested in it? Or is he telling me about it so I could bid on it?' After five minutes of hearing him explain it to me, I finally asked him if he was bidding on it. He .replied no, because it was too large for him and he already had a water pump.
After getting off the phone with Kevin, I looked at Liz and asked if she would be interested in going for breakfast the following morning and 'perhaps' looking at this engine. She had a feeling what I was up to, but agreed.
The next morning came, but very slowly. When we arrived at the Catskill D.O.T. garage where the engine was stored for the last few years, I couldn't get out of the van fast enough! As Kevin had said, it looked like a Fuller & Johnson vertical air cooled engine on a diaphragm pump mounted on a cart which had wooden spoke wheels and rubber tires. At first glance I thought the cart was homemade, but a small plaque was riveted to the cart which read, 'Manufactured by Edson Mfg.
'Before' photo of Edson Mud Pump. Its 3' bore and stroke are the same as the Fuller and Johnson pump, so I'm assuming it must be 1 HP. The cart is equipped with Ford Model T wheels and hubcaps from Edson factory. Bosch mag equipped.
Corp. Boston, Mass., U.S.A.' The engine was free and the only things missing were the needle to the drip oiler and one hub cap. The exhaust valve was stuck open.
While at the restaurant eating the breakfast I had promised Liz, I started making out my sealed bid. I went 26 dollars over minimum bid and showed it to Liz and asked what she thought. She said if it were her, she would go higher. I made another bid out and asked her again what she thought. She agreed. We then went to the County Clerk's Office and turned in the bid.
After waiting three long days and sleepless nights, the day for the opening of bids finally came. I called 15 minutes after the opening and gave my name and asked the clerk if I had gotten my bid. She asked what I bid on and said to hold on one minute. One long minute! After returning to the phone, she said I had gotten the bid, and I felt like 350 pounds of rusty iron had been lifted from my shoulders. Great! The following day Kevin and I met to pay the bid and pick up my new prize. While paying, Kevin asked if there were any other bids. The clerk said just one, a few dollars under my bid. Right then I thought of Liz, and how if she hadn't given her opinion I would have lost this great engine.
We headed over to the D.O.T. garage to load it up. After talking to an older gentleman who worked for the village for around 30 years, he said as far back as he can remember the engine was stored in a small barn by the reservoir until recent years where they moved it to the shed behind the D.O.T. garage. As you can see in the before photo, it was well cared for even after it was not in use.
I have heard that Edson Manufacturing Corporation is still in business somewhere in Massachusetts. This adventure changed my whole thinking that all those good finds were long past, and that it was still possible a great village like Catskill would still have this old iron so close in a well populated area. Out of all my engines, this is my favorite piece. I haven't seen any information in GEM on the Edson, so if anyone has any I would enjoy hearing from you.