Second Time Around

By Staff
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After leaving the factory in Wisconsin, this 20 HP Fuller & Johnson was shipped to Oregon, then to Washington state, up to Alaska, back to Oregon, and, finally, back to its home state in Wisconsin.
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The Fuller & Johnson catching some rays at the August 2004 Badger Steam and Gas Engine Club Show in Baraboo, Wis.
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The nametag of the 20 HP engine, with dealer’s tag from Pacific Hardware & Steel Co., its original point of sale.
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Twenty-six years ago, Verne Kindschi’s 20 HP Fuller & Johnson graced the cover of the September/October issue of GEM. Note the half-scale F&J 3 HP Model N in the foreground.
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A close-up view of the governor and magneto of the sideshaft Double Efficiency.
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Verne (left) with the Double Efficiency’s previous owner and good friend, the late Tom Graves, in August 1974, at the Baraboo, Wis., show. Verne had recently painted the engine and placed it on the trucks.
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Fuller & Johnson engine no. 14061, was
shipped from the factory in Madison, Wis., on April 7, 1914. This
20 HP Double Efficiency (DE) was delivered to the Pacific Hardware
& Steel Co. in Portland, Ore. It was shipped as a stationary
unit with full cast iron base. These early, large, Double
Efficiency engines were built in 8, 10, 12, 16, 18 and 20 HP sizes,
and were the only sideshaft model built by the Fuller & Johnson

Pacific Hardware & Steel sold this 20 HP engine to Troyer
& Fox Machine Works at Astoria, Ore., which would later become
Astoria Marine. At Troyer & Fox, the 20 HP was used to drive
the line shaft in the factory where boats were built, as well as
gasoline marine engines, which were known as the T&F

The continuation of this engine’s story was written in 1984 by
my very dear friend, the late Tom Graves of the Tigard, Ore., area.
(I bought this particular engine from Tom in 1974.) Tom was one
very fine man, known by a great many engine collectors throughout
the U.S. In the early 1970s he was president of the National
EDGE&TA. Tom passed away Oct. 14, 2000. This is what Tom had to
say about the F&J:

“On the 20 HP you have: After Astoria, Ore., got electricity in
about 1918-19, the engine was taken out of the machine shop and
made into a pile driver at Fleck Machine Works in Tacoma, Wash.
Here they made hundreds of 3-cycle, high-pressure pumps for the
logging industry to pump water from creeks, ponds or rivers for the
steam locomotives and logging donkey engines.

“The pile driver was mounted on a big sled and mostly used on a
barge to drive piling for fish traps. There were 150 of them north
of the Columbia River. At one time, Columbia River packers got this
rig and took it to Bristol Bay, Alaska, to drive piling for their
canneries, docks and fish traps in Bristol Bay. This was after
Oregon and Washington voted to eliminate all fish traps in any
tidal flowing rivers. Later, Alaska voted the traps out and the rig
with the 20 HP was returned to Astoria.

“It came into the hands of the Hess family, hard working
entrepreneurs and developers of the now famous Astoria bent grass
(one of the few bents tender enough for cow feed). They, in
addition to farming, operated a seed cleaning operation, fished
commercially on ocean and river, and operated a dairy. They built a
commercial shipway for construction and repair of fishing vessels.
Several members of the family were lost at sea when the fishing
vessel Rose Ann Hess sunk without a trace.

“The Hess’ had driven piling for their own shipyard and some
trestles for the county and loggers. The last job for the 20 HP was
driving piling in the delta land on their farm for bases for some
concrete silos. I got the engine from right where it sat after the
silo job. A large elderberry tree had grown up between the engine
and winch, which must have been more than 15 years old. I bought it
from Davis Hess, who was then raising beef stock. Looking back – it
was a good thing the engine was out of town (Astoria) at the time
in 1922 when the whole town was destroyed by fire.”

After Tom purchased the engine and did a restoration about 1962,
he showed it at various Oregon and Washington shows. Tom helped
start the Brooks, Ore., show and attended it regularly. In 1974,
because of his age and the difficulty of moving the big engine, Tom
asked if I would be interested in buying the engine – that was not
a difficult decision!

We made arrangements with a local implement manufacturer who
hauled farm equipment to the Northwest and returned with a load of
lumber each time. Tom took care of the arrangements and loading out
there, and the engine was brought to our area along with a load of
lumber – it all went smoothly.

Five years prior to my buying the 20 HP from Tom, I had attended
a farm auction in our area. An older gentleman there shared that he
had owned a Fuller & Johnson engine many years ago, but had
scrapped it during the World War II scrap drive. When asked what
size it was, he said it was a 20 HP and he still had the original
cart. He wondered if I would be interested in buying the cart –
another decision that did not take long to make! It was, in fact,
the original Fuller & Johnson trucks for a Double Efficiency
engine, complete with the original fuel tank and in very good
condition. When the 20 HP was delivered, we unbolted it from the
cast subbase and set it directly on the trucks I had bought – all
the bolt holes fit.

Over the last 30 years, we have shown this engine at many local
shows and events. Starting the engine is a real pleasure – you only
have to prime it with gas, turn it to the power stroke, pull it
back against compression, hit the hand igniter and it starts.

This is my favorite engine in my collection, and has been
especially interesting because of the detailed history Tom wrote
and shared with me. Thus, I felt we should share the story with
other collectors. This 20 HP was featured on the cover of Gas
Engine Magazine, September/October 1979. This was the fourth color
photo cover used by GEM.

We have had the Fuller & Johnson production records since
1966. Over the years, we have researched shipping dates and
delivery records of more than 3,000 engines for collectors all
around the U.S. and several foreign countries. We ask a fee of $1
to research the serial numbers and send information. To date, I
only know of eight of these larger engines: one 20 HP, three 18 HP,
and four 8 and 10 HP.

This engine, built in Madison, Wis., traveled to the West Coast,
to Alaska, back to the West Coast, and returned back to Wisconsin,
just 30 miles from where it was built.

For an informative Fuller & Johnson website, visit developed by Nick

Verne W. Kindschi is the author of The Fuller & Johnson
Story I & II. He can be reached at: S. 9008B U.S. Highway 12,
Prairie du Sac, WI 53578; (608) 643-3915.

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