Second Time Around

A Gas Engine Magazine Cover Girl Returns After 26 Years

| May 2005


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.

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 Co.

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 engine.

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.