The Stover records
By Joe Maurer
John Drumm with his 8 HP Stover, serial number 25859, at the Badger Steam and Gas Engine Show, Baraboo, Wis., in August 2008.
Well, 2008 was a great year for engine shows. We had good weather, fine friends and good shows. The high price of fuel didn’t seem to hurt attendance, and the quality and variety of engines just seems to get better and better.
This is our second installment of Stover Stuff and there has been a lot of response to the department. There were a few technical questions, but most of the queries were aimed at the shipping records. People have a real interest in when and where their engines were shipped.
In the past, shipping information was copied from the book with no effort made to visually reproduce the actual record. It turns out that some folks would like a reproduction of the record that shows their engine. We hadn’t really thought about it but in this modern digital age it was worth looking into. I have a digital camera with macro and super macro (close-up capability), so I took the camera on the next trip to the records.
The good news is we can get a clear picture of the information on the page. The bad news is we get a lot of extra information in each photo. From 1903 to 1911, the books are fairly small. After 1911, the books get very big. Each engine is typically on one line in the book. By the time I get the whole line photographed, I also have about 1/3 of the page. People want to frame their record, which sounds like a really neat thing to do. However, they are going to either have other engine information in the picture or have a very long skinny frame.
John Drumm’s pair of Stovers
We ran into John Drumm of Manitowoc, Wis., at Plainfield and Baraboo this summer – two good Wisconsin engine shows. John has a couple of fine Stovers as seen in the photographs. Showing the engines with the shipping records puts history in perspective. John’s 8 HP (serial number 25859) was shipped to the Badger Machinery Co. Jan. 25, 1911, and is listed as a Type DE. John has put a ton of work into this engine and it now runs and looks good.
John’s other Stover is a 1-1/2 HP Type K (serial number K144855) shipped to Welsch & Lacey at Mayville, Wis., Sept. 7, 1921. This is a very interesting engine for several reasons. The engine is almost 100 percent original with the original decal and paint. I personally like engines in this condition. It’s a very late K model that uses the single-weight governor system as used in the very early K’s. But of special interest is the hopper; it doesn’t have the typical flanged lip around the top. The hopper looks more like the one used on the earlier Type V 1 HP engine. It still uses the Webster magneto that had an aluminum body by this time. There’s one thing about Stover – when you think you know how they did it, you’ll find they didn’t. You can put a row of the same model of Stover engines together and they will all have something different. This engine ran as good as it looked.
Where did it go?
Bob Jones of Fallon, Nev., called wanting information on two Stovers. Bob has an upright 4 HP, serial number YB 25729. Lorain Forbush, his long time friend and mentor, has an early 2 HP upright Type AO, serial number 5935. This sounded like an easy enough task. Wrong! The 4 HP was no problem but the 2 HP was a whole “nuther” ball game. According to the records, the same engine was shipped to three different places on three different dates in two different years! Looking closely at the record, it appears that the engine may have been returned twice, and each time it was shipped, the line above and below the original ship date was filled in! The latest date said it went to San Francisco.
Send us your serial numbers
If you’d like us to look up your serial number, we’d be happy to. We ask only for a free will donation made out to the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club. The money will be used to maintain and copy the Stover records. If you send me an e-mail and don’t get an answer, please call. I’m not always sure if e-mail got through, so be sure to send your phone number as well. My computer has heavy duty protection and sometimes I don’t get e-mail and people don’t receive them. I can send high- or low-resolution photo copies on e-mail. Otherwise, we’ll just give you the shipping details.
Until next time, keep your plugs clean and your igniter oiled.
Contact Joe Maurer at 797 S. Silberman Rd., Pearl City, IL 61062 • (815) 443-2223 • firstname.lastname@example.org