The machine shop remained in business doing repair work and making iron well pumps and wooden windmills which sold well and the company continued to grow. Incorporation as the Baker Manufacturing Company with working capital of $20,000 followed in 1879. By 1882 forty employees were on the payroll, building and shipping seventy windmills per month which were marketed under the Monitor trade name. 1910 saw windmills and pumps marketed worldwide and new products including gasoline engines being built by a workforce of 150 employees.
Baker continued to expand their gasoline engine line with a range of horsepower to meet just about any demand. Windmills, pumps and water supply products remained the company’s mainstays, but a variety of farm implements like feed grinders and powered saws that could be run by the Monitor gas engines were also marketed.
No one could ever accuse the Baker firm of being afraid of innovation. The line of products they manufactured ranged from the eminently practical to downright bizarre. Windmill towers led to radio beacon towers for early twentieth century aviators. Steel flag poles were marketed. In the years prior to World War 2 they got into the toy business with mechanically animated toys sold as “Live Toys”. Su Panda and Annie Elephant production reached 9,000 copies. A hydrofoil sailboat was developed. Contributions to the war effort ranged from a sight for anti aircraft guns to a combat vehicle that could leap over four foot obstacles and bound 47 feet horizontally.
The Little Monitor gasoline engines like the 1 ¼ hp example shown here were one of Baker’s best selling products. Used primarily for pumping wells, they came with a pump jack and belt pulley included. They could also be used to power washing machines, corn shellers, butter churns, buzz saws, cement mixers, and about anything that could be powered by a belt drive.
The 1 ¼ hp Monitor engine was a four cycle with jump spark ignition and a hit and miss governor. It had a dust sealed, closed crankcase with hand-hole access for connecting rod adjustments. Moving parts were splash lubricated from an oil settling chamber.
The engine shown here was displayed at the WNC Fall Harvest Days Show in 2018. The data plate identifies it as a Monitor type VJ 1 ¼ hp , # 41099 . No further information was supplied. My guess would be that it was built sometime between 1910 and 1930 but without a list of serial numbers, that is just speculation.
Baker Manufacturing Company is still very much in business today. You can find a detailed history of the company at their website: www.bakermonitor.com/content/about-us/company-history