Gas Engine Magazine

Notice To Bid

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

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

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

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.

  • Published on Jun 1, 1994
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