The Field-Force Pump Co.

By Staff
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Leader with pumping jack, priced at $80.
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Field Force Pump Co., ESTABLISHED 1882 - INCORPORATED 1901. Elmira.N.Y.
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Leader 3-1/2 HP engine with horizontal pump and pumping jack, as shown in a 1912 catalog.
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The 'JUNIOR LEADER' Orchard Sprayer With Two-Horse Power Engine and Three-Plunger Pump HIGH EFFICIENCY WITH LOW COST

RD#2, Box 134, Genesee, Pennsylvania 16923

Back in March of 1989, I wrote a letter to this magazine in
which I described the governor system of Leader engines. As a
result of my endeavor to find out more about this company and its
activities, I received many replies to my letter. Several fellows
sent priceless catalogs, others sent some very nice pictures and
whatever information they had. All in all, I would like to thank
everyone who responded to my letter.

Whenever anyone sets out to do an historical research project,
many hours are spent mulling over documents, old newspapers,
original catalogs and what-have-you. In this writing, I will
attempt to relay what I have learned about the Field-Force Pump
Company and the gas engines they built.

I am a collector of locally built ‘tired iron’ and the
Leader, being built 60 miles form my residence, was a target

When time permits, I work on the info received to try and piece
together the complete history of this company. It is a very
complicated task to undertake, and will probably take several years
to complete. This article deals mainly with the Leader gasoline
engines, and I hope someone benefits from my efforts. Any person
who has info on Field-Force Pump Company is invited to share it
with me, as every little bit helps. Needed in particular are the
original production records, drawings, price sheets, dealer items,
etc. Collectors are also urged to send the serial numbers and a
description of their engines and other Field built equipment. These
will be recorded and hopefully published at a later date, as a
registry of sorts. And now, on with the story of the Field Force
Pump Company.

Field-Force Pump Company moved to Elmira, New York following a
fire in its Lockport, New York factory. With roots going back to
the early 1880’s, Field was a maker of fine hand, portable,
horse-drawn spraying pumps and rigs. Existing literature states
emphatically that, ‘we are manufacturers-NOT assemblers.’
Field Force spraying rigs were, at one time, famous the world over.
High quality was a hallmark of their construction, with cast iron
and brass used throughout. Tanks were made of stainless steel,
cypress, oak, pine, cherry and maple. Most of these spray rigs were
put to use in the orchards and crop bearing fields of America and
Canada. An early correspondence (4/29/12) indicates that the
president of the company was a man named Harrison S. Chapman; Vice
President a man named Lewis T. Barnes; and Secretary a woman named
Laura C. Gilbert. This document also states, ‘Established
1882-Incorporated 1901.’ Most sources indicate a buyout in
1939, with a change in name and abandonment of the Elmira, New York
facilities. Field held many patents on their products, most of
which were on pumps. In 1909, this company jumped into the gasoline
engine business with a solid, well-built design. It was called the
‘Leader.’ A horizontal 4 cycle, it was built in two sizes,
the 2 HP No. 2, and the 3 1/2 HP No. 3. Both were identical except
for physical size.


As with other Field products, high quality abounded. Heavy cast
iron construction, simplicity and fine engineering were the stock
in trade for this engine; no cheap engines even held a candle to
the ‘state of the art’ Field-Force Company product.
However, they were a very expensive unit to produce. 1912 prices
were: No. 2, $85.00, No. 3, $105.00. Add to that $16.00 for the
‘electrical equipment’ and prices zoomed to $101.00 and
$121.00 respectively. Consider the fact that a 2 HP Associated
Manufacturers engine sold for $25.00 FOB. In order to get within
the market something had to be done and, as a result, Field had to
‘cheapen’ its engines. Oilers were relocated, water hoppers
were redesigned, the built-up disc crank was dropped on the No. 3,
the governor was redesigned. The electrical equipment now came
furnished as standard equipment. 1913 prices: No.2 $70.00; No.3
$80.00. Quite a change from the previous year. This proved
successful as sales jumped dramatically. These engines also came as
integral equipment on spray rigs.


As with many other manufacturers, Field built different types to
meet various applications. For example, the No. 2 could be
purchased as a pump-jack equipped unit. This unit was composed of
the engine mounted on a ‘substantial’ base, walking beam,
lift rods and floor pivot casting. The price for 1913 was $85.00.
The effective pump stroke could be varied from 6 to 14 inches, thus
allowing the engine and pump to work at its best advantage. It
could be hooked up to most any pitcher or windmill pump, and with a
couple of turns of the crank, chugged merrily away at a once
time-consuming task! This allowed the owner to tend to other chores
around the house. Like its little brother, the No. 3 was also
offered with integral pumps. One popular version being a positive
displacement type pump designed for high pressure applications. Two
sizes of cylinders were built, both being brass lined. Standard
equipment cylinders were 2 1/2′ dia., 3′ dia. being
available at slightly higher cost. Pressure gauges enabled the
operator to carry any pressure desired from zero to 300 P.S.I. A
blow-off valve prevented carrying pressure above the capacity of
the pump and gear drive mechanism. No less that 5 taps were used
for attachment of hoses or suitable piping. Also included: a large
air chamber to absorb pump surges, poppet valves or bronze ball
valves (special order), electrical equipment and pump instructions.
Prices ranged from $155.00 to $198.00(1912).

During the production years of the Leader engine line, many
changes were made. Some were improvements, some were disasters. One
such problem was the flywheel hub. It was reduced in diameter in
1913. This resulted in quite a few split key-ways and fractures in
the hub area. After a few years of use, the gib keys would lose
their taper and fit from the constant power pulses and ruin the
flywheel and, in most cases, the crankshaft, too.

The governor on these engines worked by centrifugal force on the
early ‘ models; later models were governed by spring force
combined with centrifugal action on the governor weight. If the
detent lever spring failed in operation, the engine would run away
with itself!!!

Volume governing was available for a time. An existing example
is owned by an Elmira, New York collector. The No.3 was rerated to
4 HP at 400 R.P.M. When this was done is, at this time,

Sources indicate that a small vertical of unknown HP was built
some time prior to 1911. Another interesting style built was a
tank-cooled horizontal single cylinder model. In all probability,
these were prototypical engines built for research purposes and
never saw final production. Positive proof in the form of existing
examples will quell the legends.

However, proof does exist of Field’s capabilities in a twin
cylinder, 10 HP model. These were used on Leader ‘Royal Giant
Ospraymo’ spray rigs. From the sound of Field’s
advertising, these were aimed at large estates and parks. They were
built on special order exclusively and to customer needs.

Production of these engines was pobably quite small, as none
have surfaced at this time. Build years are not known either.

When Field’s total engine production is compared to the
industry giants such as IHC, Associated, Waterloo or Stover, the
number built is at best, a drop in the bucket. A generous estimate
would be in the neighborhood of 4,500 complete engines sold. At
this point, a listing of serial numbers is not known to be in
existence, nor are any factory production records.

Up to 1912, when you purchased a Leader engine, an optional
package was available to you to make your Leader complete. This
package contained all of the ‘necessary evils’ required for
proper operation.

Enter the electrical package-In 1912, your $16.00 bought you
‘the works’: 5 Columbia dry cell batteries, 1 1/2 volts
each; 1 spark coil; 1 switch and weatherproof wiring; 1 oak battery
box; 1 Mosler ‘Spitfire’ sparkplug; 1 Essex Brass Co.
generator valve (carburetor); 1 exhaust pipe & muffler; 2
‘S’ wrenches; 1 oil can; 1 oiler, Essex Brass Co.; 1 can of
compression cup grease; 1 can of cylinder oil (to insure the use of
proper lubricants); 1 complete book of operating instructions for
Leader engines.

Other options included several different sizes of pulleys,
sprockets and flat belting. After June 1, 1924, Wico EK magneto
ignition was available, only on order for No.3 engines. Cost at
this time is not known. Spark plugs, oilers, grease and oil
continued to be available from the factory as a service to its


The specifications for a No. 2 Leader engine are as follows:
Horsepower, 2 @ 425 R.P.M.; cyl. bore dia., 4.00′; stroke,
4.50′; weight, 315 lbs.; type of cooling- water, with hopper
type tank, jacketed head also; number of piston rings-3, with
lapped joints; piston type-trunk pattern; wrist pin-machinery
steel; crankshaft-drop forging with extra wide bearings;
flywheels-16′ diameter, balanced, 6 spokes; connecting
rod-adjustable at crankshaft end, babbited with bronze bushing on
piston end; main bearings-babbited, adjustable w/shims; cylinder
oiler- Essex Brass Co., 4 fluid oz. capacity; main bearing lube-cup
grease, 2 cups; type of grease cups-Essex Brass Co., 2 oz.
capacity; connecting rod Lube-cup grease, 1 cup; type of grease
cup-Essex Brass Co.; type of fuel-gasoline; fuel tank capacity-2
1/2 gallons, U.S. measure, cast into base; type of
carburetion-suction feed, approved by insurance underwriters; type
of governor-hit/miss cutout set at 425 R.P.M.; space
requirements-20′ width, 32′ length; valve arrangement-in
head, replacable guides; intake valve-automatic, vacuum operation;
exhaust valve-mechanically operated, ‘Hidural’ steel; type
of carburetor- Essex Brass Co. adj. fuel feed; starting
system-hand, crank included; furnished w/9′ diameter pulley
w/4′ face.

No. 3 Leader Engine specifications are: horsepower-3 1/2 @380
R.P.M.; cylinder bore diameter-5.00′; stroke-5.250′;
weight-500 lbs.; type of cooling-water, hopper type tank, jacketed
head also; number of piston rings-3, w/lapped joints; piston type-
trunk pattern; wrist pin-machinery steel; crankshaft construction-
counter-weighted, disc type on early models, drop-forging on
remainder of production; flywheels-20′ diameter, balanced, 6
spokes; connecting rod- adjustable at crank, babbited, w/bronze
bushing on piston end, non adjustable early models; main
bearings-babbited, adjustable w/shims; cylinder oiler- Essex Brass
Company, 4 fluid oz. capacity drip type; main bearing lube- grease,
2 cups; type of grease cups- Essex Brass Company, 2 oz. capacity;
connecting rod lube-grease, 1 cup; type, of cup-Essex Brass
Company, 2 oz. capacity; type of fuel-gasoline; fuel tank
capacity-4 gallons, U.S. measure; type of carburetion-suction feed,
Insurance Underwriter’s approved; type of carburetor-Essex
Brass Company, adjustable fuel feed; type of governor-hit/miss,
cutout set at 380 R.P.M.; space requirements-24′ width, 36′
length; valve arrangement- in head, replaceable guides; intake
valve-automatic, vacuum operation; exhaust valve-mechanically
operated, ‘Hidural’ steel; starting system-hand crank,
included; comes furnished with 9′ diameter pulley w/4′

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