That Odd Looking Fuller & Johnson

By Staff
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Route 3, Box 71 Kenyan, Minnesota 55946

This story actually started about four years ago when a good
buddy of mine, Albert Remme, of Dennison, Minnesota told me about
two brothers who were neighbors of his. He said that they had an
old gas engine-a Fuller & Johnson. At first 1 didn’t get
very excited. Now don’t get me wrong; Fuller & Johnson made
some really good old work horses. They were simple but well-built
engines. No, I didn’t get excited until Albert told me that
this engine looked different from any other engine he had ever seen
before. He said something about an old radiator on this engine,
that looked like the old radiators they used in older homes with
steam heat. You can imagine the instant rabbit ears. By now,
I’m twisting Albert’s arm to go for a short ride to his
neighbor’s place.

After looking over this old gal, I inquired about buying her.
The answer I got was, ‘We’ll never sell it.’ I got a
little history lesson on how it came into the family in 1905. The
brothers said that their father used the engine in a farm shop. It
was on a line shaft hooked up to a metal lathe, grinder and many
other things.

It is a 2 HP engine similar to the one on top of page 186 in C.
H. Wendel’s book, American Gasoline Engines. The engine is in
excellent original condition. It is complete with muffler and hand
crank. The only thing that isn’t there is the hot tube
ignition.

As the years went by, I visited these two brothers on several
occasions. I always got a good reception, but still the engine
wasn’t for sale. When I would ask about the engine I would get
a ‘We’re not quite ready to sell’ instead of
‘never.’

In September 1990, I decided to write the brothers a letter.
Among several different subjects, I mentioned my desire to purchase
the engine once again. A few weeks went by and I got no reply. I
just took this to mean a definite ‘no.’

One day, Albert was over to see the brothers and one of them
told Albert that they should write me a letter. Albert told them
that he would be seeing me in a couple of days. They told Albert to
tell me to come and get the engine at the agreed upon price because
‘I think he really wants the engine and I guess we’ll never
use it again.’

That night, I got a phone call from Albert and he told me the
words I had been waiting to hear for a long time.

Within a couple of days, I had made some phone calls. One was to
another friend, Chris Romness of Wanamingo, Minnesota. Chris is a
good man to know when you want to move something heavy. Albert and
I couldn’t begin to lift together what Chris can.

We found the engine just as it had been standing for years,
still belted up to the line shaft. In short order the engine was
unbolted from the floor and moving toward my pickup. As the engine
came outside the dimly lit building, we noticed the condition of
the engine was even better than what we had seen inside. Chris made
the remark that if I painted it, he would choke me. Those of you
who know Chris know that he doesn’t have a mean bone in his
body. But then, after seeing Chris move around old iron, maybe
I’d better listen to him. I’ve built a cart for the engine
for easier moving. I hope to take it to some shows next summer so
other ‘gas engine nuts’ can enjoy it too.

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