John Bean’s invention led to FMC founding

Like so many Los Gatans, John Bean came here for his health. Unlike others, the inventor arrived from Michigan a rich man, having sold his patent for the “Buckeye Force Pump,” the first deep-well pump ever made, to Mast, Foos & Co. for $25,000 and royalties of 25 cents per pump. The pump ran on windmill power.

Arriving in Los Gatos in 1883, Bean bought a 10-acre almond grove and settled into a gentle house hoping to live out his final years in comfort.

His rest was short-lived, however. San Jose Scale was attacking his almond trees, and the only insecticide spray pump on the market was ineffectual.

Working in his shop behind 212 Bean Ave., the inventor fashioned a pump so high-reaching that other farmers demanded to buy them.

Needing a younger man to take over his burgeoning pump business, the elderly Bean urged his son-in-law David C. Crummy, a Civil War veteran, to come west and take over. At first, Crummy refused the offer. He was happy as a salesman for the very company that had bought Bean’s deep water pump.

But Crummy finally agreed to come and became president of the Bean Spray Co. which merged with Anderson-Barngrover, manufacturer of cannery equipment. That marriage turned into what became the mighty Food Machinery Company—later known simply as FMC—of San Jose.

This column is from the Los Gatos Weekly-Times archives. © Metro Publishing, Inc

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