Petrol engine, horizontal stationary, 'Champion', cast iron / steel / paint, manufactured by Westinghouse Rosebery Pty Ltd, Rosebery, NSW, Australia, 1935-1940
The Champion was a very successful small petrol engine made by a large Sydney company. With hopper cooling and a fuel tank mounted between the skids, and weighing only 240 pounds (109 kg), it was easy to mount on a wheeled transport and so become a self-contained mobile source of power. Engines of this type were used in rural areas for driving chaffcutters, small saw benches, pumps and orchard sprayers. This particular engine was used to drive a concrete mixer, which was a typical application in both urban and rural areas.
From late in the nineteenth century, petrol engines gradually supplanted steam engines for running a wide range of machines, and in turn petrol engines were largely supplanted by electric motors. In the twenty first century, petrol and diesel engines still compete with electric motors in the concrete mixer market, and engine-driven mixers are particularly useful on remote and green-field building sites. While most concrete is mixed in large batching plants and delivered by truck, small concrete mixers are used for home renovation jobs; they are also used by bricklayers for mixing mortar and plasterers for mixing plaster.
The engine is a copy of a Fuller and Johnson engine designed in the USA. Both Westinghouse Rosebery in NSW and Toowoomba Foundry in Queensland made such engines in large quantities, beginning in the 1920s when tariff protection made local manufacture viable. Manufacture of small petrol engines continued in Australia until the 1970s, when reduced tariff protection led to increased competition from cheaper imported engines.
Debbie Rudder, Curator, and Noel Svensson, Powerhouse Volunteer, 2010
The engine was designed by Fuller & Johnson of Madison, Wisconsin, and manufactured by Westinghouse Rosebery Pty Ltd of Rosebery, NSW. The partnership between Rosebery Engine Works and the Westinghouse Corporation dates from 1935. The company was taken over by EMAIL in 1940. The engine appears to have been manufactured between 1935 and 1940.
The firm of Fuller & Johnson commenced about 1880 as a dealership in farm implements. M E Fuller (1821-1919) was born in Little Falls NY and moved to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1858. He became involved in the farm implement business and became a partner in Fuller-Williams & Co. When John Anders Johnson (1832-1901), a Norwegian migrant, joined the firm in 1873, it became known as Johnson, Fuller & Co. In 1882 the name was changed to Fuller & Johnson & Co and Johnson became president. In 1889 he established the Gisholt Machine Co to make machine tools and is credited with the invention of the turret lathe.
Fuller & Johnson began making engines in 1902, with the most widely used being the farm pumper, which was manufactured between 1909 and 1952. Between 1913 and 1925 the company sold 56,000 hopper-cooled Model N petrol engines, and numerous Model K kerosene engines. Late in the 1920s the firm experienced a drop in sales, probably due to the electricity grid expanding into farming areas, and the company moved to the manufacture of more powerful engines for the construction industry. The depression of the 1930s caused the closure of the company in 1933.
Mr A B Armstrong began an engineering merchant business at 9 Market St Sydney in 1849. The business was expanded in 1858 by purchasing a ship chandler business from Mr J Carr. Mr Armstrong's daughter Sarah married W S Buzacott in 1862, and he was made a partner in the firm in 1864 and managing director in 1877.
In 1900 W V Buzacott, who had trained as an electrical engineer, went to the USA to gather information from the Hercules Engine Works and obtain the Australian agency for the company. He brought back three oil engines and began to manufacture engines. In 1902 the firm became Buzacott & Co Ltd. It grew to become a very well known manufacturer and supplier of engines and agricultural equipment such as fences, gates, pumps, kerosene engines, wool presses, elevators, corn crushers and chaffcutters. Because of the group's growth, new premises for manufacturing were built at Dunning Ave, Rosebery, Sydney.
In the 1920s, Alan E Buzacott (1899-1983) completed a Bachelor of Engineering degree, became a director of Henry Lane (Australia) Ltd, and was appointed chief engineer for Rosebery Engine Works Ltd, the engine and pump manufacturing division of Buzacott & Co Ltd.
In 1926, on account of the high tariff set by the Australian government on import of American engines, Rosebery Engine Works began to make versions of the popular Fuller & Johnson engine. The Rosebery engine was almost the same as the Fuller & Johnson except that a rotary magneto was used with a direct gear driven from the driving pinion on the crankshaft, and mounted on a flat on the top side of the crankshaft main bearing. Rosebery engines were fitted with Fellows EA1, ML.CMA, BTH, M1F2 and Bosch and Wico magnetos.
In 1935, after a long association with the Westinghouse Corporation, Rosebery Engine Works signed a new agreement giving it the right to manufacture and sell nearly all products of the Westinghouse company. It changed its name to Westinghouse Rosebery Ltd and then to Westinghouse Sales and Rosebery Ltd. In 1940 the company ran into financial and management problems and was taken over by the EMAIL group.
The Rosebery Engine Works sold engines under the names Buzacott, Rosebery, Champion, New Record, Lightning, Goldsborough, Moffat-Virtue and Waugh & Josephson. It is thought that this arrangement continued from 1926 until 1950.