Fuller & Johnson Comes Home

Missourian’s patience pays off with Fuller & Johnson engine/mill combo

| October 2011

In 1942, when Green “Fountain” Allen up and walked off his place in the southeastern Arkansas town of Wilmar, he left behind a single-cylinder Fuller & Johnson 8 hp gasoline engine. He had used it there for many years, powering a buzz saw and grist mill, cutting logs for firewood and grinding corn into meal for members of the community. Normally his work was paid for in trade, not cash money. 

Fast-forward to a time several years ago when David Allen, one of Fountain’s grandsons, heard that the mill and engine had subsequently been obtained by a neighbor, whose nephew, Bob Hart, hauled them to Fresno, Calif. David got Bob’s address and wrote to him, asking that he be given a chance to purchase both machines if they were ever offered for sale. Receiving no immediate answer, he forgot about the offer.

Two years later Bob died, and two years after that, Bob’s mother passed away. After yet two more years, Bob’s brother found David’s letter and called him out of the blue. “If you want the engine and mill,” he said, “they’re yours, but you will have to come to California to get them.”

At that time David lived in Pine Bluff, Ark, still he says the long drive to Fresno and back was well worth the effort, even after counting road expenses. A small-engine enthusiast since his youth, he knew the value of what had been given to him.

Engine and mill bought new

Fully restored, the Fuller & Johnson Model N (serial no. 53036) now sits alongside the relatively small grist mill in David’s machine shop north of Springfield, Mo. The engine was shipped by the manufacturer on Aug. 12, 1922, from Madison, Wis. The engine generates 375 rpm.

According to a brass plate on the wood-encased mill, it was originally sold by Southwestern Supply Co., Little Rock, Ark. The mill appears to be a Williams model with 16-inch buhr stone and an unusual eight-sided wooden hopper. David believes that his grandfather bought both the engine and the mill new.