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May 2016

An Engine Named Gus

Part 2: Gus and His Builder

By Paul Harvey

Last month, The Flywheel introduced Gus and described where he had previously lived and how he came to Coolspring.  That was back in 1971!  His name came from his designer, a young Swedish immigrant named Gustaf Joranson.   That article detailed many of Gus's unique features and designs.  Mr. Joranson soon found employment in Chicago with another Swedish immigrant, Carl Anderson.  Mr. Anderson built Gus in his factory, the Carl Anderson Company, along with an undetermined amount of his brothers.  Only one other is known to me to survive.  And so, the Anderson story unfolds.

Carl Anderson was born in Sweden in 1851, and his parents were Andus Motenson and Anna Christens.  He arrived in the USA in 1869 at the age of 18 and soon married.  He and his wife had three children and the first, William Carl Anderson, was born in 1875 in Berrien, Michigan.  "W.C." as he was called soon became very involved with his father in the engine business and later started his own firm.  Carl died in 1917 and was buried at the Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.  W.C. continued to prosper in his own business of building marine engines, naming his firm the Anderson Engine Company.  Although it is unclear when his engine production ceased, he was still very active in 1930.  W.C. passed away in 1940 and was also buried in the Rosehill Cemetery.

Photo 1 shows the Carl Anderson engine, circa 1902.  Note the very pleasant lines and proportions.  The mechanism on the side is smooth and blends into the overall design very well.  The flywheel size is "just right" and  complements the engine, giving a pleasing appearance.  The museum's Gus, although a vertical, shares the same pleasant design.

The first mention of the Carl Anderson Company was found in Gardner Hiscox's 1898 edition of Gas, Gasoline, and Vapor Engines.  Unfortunately there is no illustration or description of the engine.  In 1904, the Chicago City Directory noted that the Carl Anderson Company was located at 25 North Clinton Street, Chicago, and Mr. Anderson resided at 237 Wilson Avenue.

A 1902 advertisement is shown in Photo 2.  Here one sees the Carl Anderson engine listed as the "GUS."  Note that it is termed "A Model of Perfection."  It appears that the two names were used interchangeably.  This dual usage was found in many references.

Noted in a 1905 issue of The Gas Engine, the Carl Anderson Company, builders of the Gus engine, moved into a new and larger shop located at Huron and Kingsbury Streets in Chicago.  The old shop on North Clinton Street had been destroyed by fire.  The firm apparently had no financial problems rebuilding and expanding.  They continued engine production.  Also in 1905, Modern Machinery illustrates a Gus saw rig being demonstrated at a fair.  Note Photo 3.  While all other illustrations and patents of the Gus engine show only hot tube ignition, this one mentions electric igniters.  They stated that with both the hot tube ignition and igniter option, the engine was able to operate in any weather.  What a great selling point!

The Journal Gazette of Mattoon, Illinois, announces in 1906 that the Carl Anderson gas and gasoline engine factory of Chicago will be moved to Shelbyville, Illinois, "as soon as possible."  Shelbyville's Business Association has raised $15,000 to make this move possible.  Further research reveals that Carl Anderson Company did not leave Chicago, but his son, W.C. Anderson, established his own firm, the Anderson Engine Company, in Shelbyville and started to produce marine engines.  Also in 1906, the Cycles and Automobile Trade Journal shows this 37½ hp four-cycle Anderson marine engine.  Note Photo 4.

Another 1906 article, found in Motor Boat, announces that W.C. Anderson, son of Carl Anderson, was appointed to organize the Chicago Boat Show.  This was a large week-long event with makers from all over the country displaying their finest and most modern engines and boats.  The Anderson Engine Company of Shelbyville had an exhibit as did the Carl Anderson Company of Chicago.  It appears that father and son could work together.

The International Motor Cylopedia of 1908 announced that the Anderson Engine Company of Shelbyville, Illinois, had been incorporated with a capital of $30,000.  Carl Anderson was president and W.C. Anderson was secretary-treasurer.  Listed were branches at 19 East Huron Street, Chicago82 Warren Street, New York City 420 North Main Street, St. Louis;  and 500 Washington Street, Buffalo.  Father and son are still working together, and this relationship continues.

It is interesting to find a 1911 note in Motor Boating stating the Anderson Engine Company of Shelbyville shipped nine marine engines, ranging from 2½ hp to 8 hp, to Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.  They must have done extensive advertising.

Perhaps since W.C. Anderson incorporated in 1908, his father must have decided that incorporation was the best move for his own company.   A 1913 issue of Industrial World states that the Carl Anderson Company incorporated with a capital of $10,000.  Carl Anderson would be president, Silas Howe would be vice president, and Enoch Peterson would be secretary-treasurer.  They planned to build gas engines, generators, and general machinery.

Motor Boating, in 1914, states the Anderson Engine Company of Shelbyville has introduced a new line of heavy-duty four-cycle marine engines.  Note the 75 hp model shown in Photo 5.  This line continued to expand, eventually building a 150 hp six-cylinder size.  Motor Boating continues in 1915 to state that the Anderson Engine Company is working at full capacity to keep abreast of the demand.  Their most popular model is a four-cycle, four-cylinder 24 hp engine that sells for $660.

A 1918 issue of Iron Trade Review sadly announces that Carl Anderson died in Chicago after a 12-month illness.  He was 66.  He had a distinguished career as vice president of the Anderson Machine Company of 4036 North Rockwell Street, Chicago, as well as having been the late president of the Carl Anderson Company.  He was a respected Chicago machinist well known for his ability.  And so, the Anderson story comes to a close.

A very interesting article was found in the December/January 2010 issue of Gas Engine Magazine.  It featured "Big Waldo," a 15 - 20 hp horizontal Carl Anderson engine.  The engine was purchased by the Waldensians, a conservative religious order that dated from 46 AD.  Persecution in Europe led many of the order to seek a new life in the Americas, and one group settled in Valdese, North Carolina. They used the engine to power their sawmill.  When the village was historically restored, the engine was modified a bit to again power the sawmill.  The engine can now be seen in operation at the Waldensian Trail of Faith in Valdese, North Carolina.  I recommend that the reader refer to Gas Engine Magazine online to enjoy the entire story.  Note Photo 6.

I wish to acknowledge the following sources of information that I used to make this article possible:
Google Books
Gas Engine Magazine, December/January 2010
with permission of the editor, Richard Backus

Next month, I will bring you back to Coolspring Power Museum to view some of the "One-of-a-Kind" engines here.

Carl Anderson Engine

Photo 1: Carl Anderson engine circa 1902

Gus Advertisement 1902

Photo 2: Gus 1902 ad

Gus Saw Rig 1905 

Photo 3: Gus saw rig 1905

Anderson Marine Engine 1906 

Photo 4: 37½ hp four-cycle Anderson marine engine

Anderson Four-Cylinder Engine 1914 

Photo 5: 75 hp Anderson marine engine

Existing Engine 

Photo 6: "Big Waldo" 15 - 20 hp Carl Anderson engine


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