The Field-Force Pump Co.

Focusing On The Leader Engine Line, 1909-1939


| May/June 1990



Leader with pumping jack

Leader with pumping jack, priced at $80.

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 engine.

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.