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AGM of Albert Lea and Albert Lea Foundry

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by OMC, Jan 4, 2017.

  1. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    Hello AGM fans,
    Not sure where we go with this info but "tossing it out here!"
    A little background, around the time i post this several related things happened.

    > Discussion unrelated (directly) to this, re Coleman No.1 of Feb 1923... a "Tourist" stove is in the mix.
    > I get the impression there's interest in early AGM.
    > Scouter Jan had posted 1924 or earlier "TOURIST" Albert Lea Foundry Pat. Pending. (posted in AGM category).
    > I posted a "1924 or later TOURIST Albert Lea Foundry Pat. Dec 1924 (posted in AGM).

    Right now, this post is inspired in-part by Trevor comment within Jan's Tourist post: "I can not find any information on the stoves produced by Hans Hanson's Albert Lea Foundry before the birth of the American Gas Machine company."
    So right or wrong, to this point I get impression Albert Lea Foundry became AGM? ... or was absorbed? / bought-out? by AGM and that still may be.

    Today for fellow stovies to enlighten me or ponder yourselves:
    1922 Field and Stream May-October is available via google :thumbup:. Where we can see AGM advertises their No.3 and No.12. AGM stoves sell uninterrupted afterwards as well.

    Albert Lea Foundry for some time (pre 1925) had been selling their Tourist (Pat pending). They continued to sell their Tourist Pat'd Dec 1924.

    These dates may conflict w/Albert Lea Foundry becoming AGM...
    Not sure how long after 1925 but for year(s) leading up to c1924/25, it is seeming to me, the two separate companies co-existed in Albert Lea, Minnesota.
    I said I'd toss it out here, maybe I should have warned you it was a curve ball. AND
    I know relatively nothing about lanterns/lamps, might a lampie already be familiar w/AGM history and have this sorted?
    a curious omc
    tag @scouterjan @shagratork @Matty to name a few (post is for all, not slighting others here)

    PS btw Field & Stream 1922 May-October also advertises PW Auto Kamp Kook Kit. Zero Albert Lea Foundry or Coleman ads.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2017
  2. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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  3. Robert Bruce

    Robert Bruce Australia Subscriber

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    What is the car in the pic ? Can't make it out. Something in the 20 s.
    Nice pic and links.

    Cheers
    Rob
     
  4. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    sPatent 1,387,152 was filed July 21 1917 and was issued August 9 1921 and assigned to the American Gas Machine Company. It is a two-burner suitcase stove.
    The next one that I've found is 1,404,314 for a collapsible oven filed March 10 1921, issued December 22 1922.
    I can't find any patents to Albert Lea Foundry. Doesn't mean they aren't there, just I can't find them. If anyone has any patent number for any Albert Lea Foundry item let me know and I'll keep searching. Edit: based on the Pat. date on the Tourist linked above I found

    Patent 1,518,713 was filed March 20 1922 and issued December 9 1924 to F.A Trow of Albert Lea Minn. The date fits the Tourist stove cited above but the patent drawing is very different from the dated one, closer to the Pat. Pending version.

    At this point I'm not sure Albert Lea Foundry did become AGM because the AGM patent above predates the Foundry stove patent. AGM may have bought out ALF but it doesn't look to me like ALF could be the parent company.

    Certainly more research to be done here. My Google-fu has not turned up any evidence of ALF except for the patents. If we could find some one who lives close to Albert Lea they might be able to search some local records and provide some insight.
     
  5. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    Thx Bill, time crunch here at the moment.

    Also FYI: Yet another law suit saga stove maker vs stove maker,
    definitely 2 companies PRE Jan. 1925:
    Note this case at a Court of Appeals
    No. 6905.
    ALBERT LEA FOUNDRY CO., Appellant, v. AMERICAN GAS MACHINE CO., Inc.

    Circuit Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.
    January 30, 1925.

    Attorney(s) appearing for the Case
    Amasa C. Paul, Richard Paul, and Maurice M. Moore, all of Minneapolis, Minn., for appellant.

    James F. Williamson, of Minneapolis, Minn., for appellee.
    PER CURIAM.
    Appeal dismissed, without costs to either party in this court, per stipulation of parties.
     
  6. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  7. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    Many years ago (2003) a well respected US member of CCS said:

    "The Albert Lea Foundry is the original name for the American Gas and Machine Company (AGM). It was located in Albert Lea, Minnesota, USA. The American Gas and Machine Company was in direct competition with Coleman and for many years the only difference between the two companies products was the way the generators were attached to the fount (on/off) valves. . . . . . ."

    This stated fact became ingrained in my mind. I presume that this supposed fact was then passed on over the years to other members.
    Two years ago I did extensive research into AGM (American Gas Machine Co.) and at no time in that research did the name of 'Albert lea Foundry Co.' arise.

    With some more research I came to the conclusion that the American Gas Machine Co. and the Albert Lea Foundry Co. were entirely different companies.
    AGM was formed in approximately 1903 and ALF was close to 1920.
    So the Albert Lea Foundry Co. "Tourist" stove is not an earlier AGM stove. In fact AGM were producing AGM-branded stoves before the 'Tourist'.

    In another thread on Coleman stoves here, @Matty posted a 1922 advert showing a 'Tourist' stove.
    I have a good number of AGM adverts from 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923 1924, etc. which show the range of AGM stoves, but none of them show or mention a 'Tourist' stove.


    The above is just a brief summary of my findings. There are many documents on the Internet which support my findings.
    The dates I quoted may not be exact.
    I am sure that other members with more evidence will be able to confirm or contradict my summary.
     
  8. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    Thank you for enlightening us Trevor,
    I'm agreeing with your findings and I too patiently await further detail / comment.

    Bill thx for patent info, you dug deep and when reporting back let me add
    it SURE DOES appear that you've found Albert Lea Foundry's *patent for their Tourist.
    Which version of Tourist is a layer beneath that *main point , thought I'd mention it, and just sayin' THANKS again for that.

    This is place for discussion and I will like to invite encourage multi-tasking:
    AGM history / timeline (esp re stoves :content: )
    Albert Lea Foundry history / timeline
    Any reference that combines the 2, ie lawsuit above.

    Trevor, AGM timeline: you have multiple stoves offered in 1920, interesting.
    It would be interesting to try to further narrow down when they offered their 1st stove(s)? and what models they were? (a selfish drift, also wonder when No.3 production ended, sorry).
    I came across an AGM ad from 1916, no stove, ad featured 1 indoor table lamp, the "American" lamp. Only now also wondering what that c1916 fuel was? sorry.

    Drift: Is a light going off w/anyone else? The timing and the resemblance has me wondering ??? about similarities / differences between
    pre-1926 Coleman suitcases (just the case) [production beginning] -and-
    pre-1926 Albert Lea Foundry Tourist suitcase (just the case) [production ending].
    Both companies were competing with AGM's (and PW) well established camp stove manufacturing / market share.
    thx omc
    tag @cottage hill bill
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  9. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    Trevor,
    I also agree that all the evidence points to AGM and ALF being two completely separate companies. Over the past few months I've compiled as many stove and lantern related patents as I can find. Right now it's up to about 180. There are a couple of things I've noticed. One, average time between patent application and issue of patent seems to be 2-4 years. Second patent drawings rarely look exactly like production models. At least with stoves and lanterns the patent is very much about concepts rather than detail. I also imagine that the realities of economic production causes several changes between patent drawings and the first model out the door. Usually with the patents there is an inventor, an individual, and an assignee, a company. The patent for the Tourist stove is only to the inventor, F.A Trow of Albert Lea, Minn. The 1917 AGM patent is to H.C. Hanson assigned to AGM. Because Trow was from Albert Lea I had mistakenly assigned the stove to AGM, at that time believing the ALF ->AGM story. The pictures from the gallery here helped me correct that thought.

    Because companies put products to market once the patent is applied for rather than waiting for the patent to be issued I believe AGM could have had a two burner suitcase on the market as early as mid-1917 and surely by 1918. The first Coleman stove patent I can find is 1439466 filed December 1921 and issued December 1922. So the likelihood is that AGM had a suitcase stove in the market several years before Coleman.
     
  10. Conny C

    Conny C Sweden Subscriber

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    Hi all, I am not a "stovie" but has an interest in and collecting and restoring early American pressure lamps.
    In the early AGM catalogues you can see all types of GPA.s made by AGM and also early "camping" stoves.
    From a 1916 AGM catalogue (kindly shared by Neil McRae) you can see three pressurized stoves, where
    there is one "suitcase" stove, the "American Folding Camp Stove Nr.3.
    In a later 1923 AGM catalogue you can see several stoves now branded "Kampkook, the probably most known name,
    relating to AGM suitcase stoves.

    /Conny

    AGM 22 1916 stove No. 1 and 2.jpg AGM 22 1916 stove No. 3.jpg
     
  11. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    @OMC
    Thank you for starting this thread.
    It is something I have thought about and returned to a number of times in the past 3 or 4 years.
    Your thread has provided a vehicle where evidence from various members can be combined.

    @cottage hill bill
    I agree with all you say in your post.
    I think that in the 'stovie world' there has been a mistaken belief that the 'Albert Lea Foundry Co.' predated the 'American Gas Machine Co.', and in fact that ALF became AGM. All the evidence I have seen contradicts this supposition.

    @Conny C
    My earliest AGM adverts date from 1920 but other documents indicate that AGM camping stoves were being produced before then.
    My estimate was 1917, but your advert from 1916 is hard evidence and thank you (and Neil) for posting it.

    Now that the ALF link with AGM has been broken I feel that the history of the early American Gas Machine Company can now be pieced together more accurately.

    Unfortunately, at the moment I have not been able to find much history of the Albert Lea Foundry Company.
    Hopefully more information will come to light.
     
  12. Tony Press

    Tony Press Australia Subscriber

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    @OMC

    Regarding your "drift" above. The fuel for the lamp would have been gasoline. (See also @Conny C above).

    Cheers

    Tony
     
  13. OMC

    OMC United States Subscriber

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    Thank you Bill, Conny, Trevor and Tony,
    Where fellow stovies originally sourced their ALF--> AGM info has not yet been shared here (there may be no basis for this, or may be there's something to it but needs to be tweaked?).
    Thorough AGM history should include ALF if they are linked but I'm not entirely clear on AGM history c1925 either, did I miss something there? Nor the Jan. 1925 agreement that resulted with case-closed on the appellate court law suit? (case closed right after ALF is granted it's stove patent btw, hmmm?)

    They were 2 separate competing companies pre-1926. true but...
    Here, for now, I'm thinking it may be premature to say ALF/AGM link is broken?
    Details re post-1925 ALF and their "Tourist" stove are not yet shared here (did AGM buy them out? just a little later. Did ALF take their suitcase and join forces w/Billy from Kansas?). AGM did expand operations in 1925 btw.

    AND / OR... are there more post 1925 updates that might further enlighten us?

    Ya know the saying "If you can't beat 'em join 'em"... for me, there are indicators that this may apply to
    ALF no longer doing business as ALF
    at some point post 1925.
    thx omc
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2017
  14. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    @OMC
    I should have made myself clearer.
    The broken link I was talking about was that where the Albert Lea Foundry Company was earlier than AGM and became the American Gas Company (i.e. the same company with a changed name).
    I have not yet found evidence that AGM eventually took over/absorbed ALF, though that might have happened.
    Certainly the Albert Lea Foundry Company was still a separate entity in 1927, which can be seen here.
     
  15. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    @shagratork The law suit article provided me with another piece of the puzzle, where F.A. Trow fits into ALF. His is the only name on the tourist stove patent filed in March 1922. In May or June he becomes president of ALF. Sounds like most of these guys might have raised double-dipping to an art form. McDowell is on the board of ALF but gets a commission from Imperial Furnace for selling IF to ALF. I'm guessing that Trow was getting royalties on the stove patent since it wasn't assigned to ALF. Now we also know that Albert Lea Tractor Company begat Albert Lea Foundry and that Albert Lea Foundry was in no way a parent of AGM.
    Keep up the good work all.
     
  16. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    @cottage hill bill
    Thanks for piecing all that information together.
    It was something I was meaning to do as I recognised some of the names, but I had not got round to putting the jigsaw together.
    You have done the work for me.
    Things are gradually becoming clearer.
     
  17. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    I searched through the Coleman Collector's Forum for Albert Lea and found an additional worm to add to our can.
    http://www.colemancollectorsforum.com/post/some-finds-today-kitchen-stove-and-a-slant-8071717
    I have seen some mention that Queen Stove Co. took over the plant owned by ALF. Now I've to to find where that was. Since this stove is marked both Queen Stove and ALF I wonder if ALF morphed into Queen Stove like Albert Lea Tractor turned into ALF? Farther down in the thread are some other Tourist stoves.
     
  18. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    @cottage hill bill
    Yes, I had spotted that thread. It contains a number of statements and suppositions that left me with more questions than answers.
    What I would like to see is evidence that can verify the statements.

    One member stated:
    "I have checked and I do not have any paperwork which shows your stove, but it's early, as Albert Lea became Brite Lite and later on they became part of AGM."

    Is this information correct? I hope it is but I would also like to see links to documents that support it.


    In another thread on the Coleman Collectors Forum, when talking about an Albert Lea Foundry stove a member said:
    "All I know is it was made before the company that became AGM, Albert Lea."

    Some CCF members disputed this, but I think we have knocked that long-held theory on the head.


    In yet another thread on CCF, when talking about an Albert Lea Foundry stove a member says:
    "I think that this is only the 2nd model of this stove to be found. This pre dates AGM"

    Wrong!


    My main question about the Albert Lea Foundry and American Gas Machine is how much is fact and how much is fiction?
    I think that a lot of the suppositions made were because both companies were based in the town of Albert Lea.
     
  19. cottage hill bill

    cottage hill bill United States Subscriber

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    @shagratork

    I have seen absolutely nothing that would support that statement.


    We know this is wrong. The earliest patent for AGM I can find is for a gas generator and is dated 1903.

    Take a look at this http://www.company-histories.com/Scotsman-Industries-Inc-Company-History.html

    I'm beginning to see where some of the confusion comes from.

    This is my working hypothesis: Albert Lea Tractor Co. becomes Albert Lea Foundry, Queen Stove Works is operating concurrently with ALF. At some time (working theory 1930's) Queen Stove Works (QSW)acquires ALF and sets up production at the ALF building. In 1950 QSW buys AGM (I believe this is what causes the ALF->AGM story). In 1957 King-Seeley buys QSW then in 1960 King-Seeley and Thermos come together as Thermos.

    So there is a semi-truth to the idea that ALF->AGM but it is certainly not that linear. It appears that AGM predates ALF but that both companies eventually ended up in the same melting pot.

    If no one here minds I might post a similar thread over on the CCF to see if anyone there can contribute anything more to the story.
     
  20. shagratork

    shagratork United Kingdom Moderator Subscriber

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    @cottage hill bill
    Given what we know at the moment, what you say makes total sense.
    Posting your thoughts on CCF seems to be a great idea. If anyone has definite information, then surely it is on the Coleman Collectors Forum that deals with Coleman and other early US stove manufacturers.

    When I first thought of voicing my views on the ALF/AGM situation I expected to be shot down with flames by members with pre-conceived assumptions.
    I am pleased that some members have listened to what we are trying to explore.
     

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