At 17 he entered John A. Snyder's machine shop in Mount Joy, Pa. He became manager in 1865, then left to become a toolmaker in the Norris Locomotive Works in Lancaster. In 1867 he started his own shop in Lancaster, later taking in his brother Ezra as a partner and A. B. as an apprentice. He started making patent models, then producing steam engines. He sold the company but continued as manager. In l876, he and A.B. started a partnership to make portable steam engines for farm machinery, they sold this to the Geiser Manufacturing Co in Waynesboro with F.F. continuing as chief of design. He had designed a cylindrical grinding machine in l872. After A.B. had developed this, they started a new company in l889 to manufacture it. First called Landis Bros. it later became Landis Tool Co. While working for Geiser, F.F. designed a bolt-threading machine with rights going to Landis Tool, but it was not until 1903 that the Landis Machine Co. was formed to produce it. F.F.'s other developments included a steam plow with ten blades, a threshing machine, machines to make concrete blocks, electric time clocks, a shock absorber for automobiles, and a method for maintaining a constant water level in steam boilers.