If you’re a fan of the Stover Mfg. & Engine Co., then it’s likely you’ve become acquainted with Joe Maurer through our regular department “Stover Stuff.” Joe is the current custodian of the Stover shipping records and has become a busy man since advertising his serial number services.
Asking for only a small donation to the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club in Freeport, Ill., where the records are stored, Joe has volunteered much of his time the last two years looking up Stover serial numbers for anyone who enquires by e-mail, phone and letter. He’s talked to Stover collectors from all over the world, including unlikely locales like Hungary.
As of this issue’s printing, Joe has looked up close to 1,000 engines, much of that thanks to the exposure the registry has received through “Stover Stuff.” “It has generated much interest on my end and has been quite time consuming,” Joe told me recently. “Good thing I’m retired.”
When you think about it, it’s not surprising that so many people are interested in having Joe look up their engine. As the records document the date, name and location involved with initial shipping from the Stover factory, Joe is, in effect, providing collectors with their engine’s birth certificate. And that information only enhances the bond between owner and engine.
From our perspective at Gas Engine Magazine, Joe’s effort and the effort of everyone who maintains a company’s records is essential to the preservation of this hobby. So, when Joe approached us with the idea of posting the Stover registry on our website, we jumped at the opportunity. While it would take too much time for our small staff to maintain the full registry online, we realized that we could offer a free PDF download of the updated registry every few months. Each time we put it together, the process becomes quicker, so we’re planning on offering updated PDFs on a much more regular basis. The latest update of the Stover registry, titled August 2010, is now available for download.
The success of Joe’s Stover registry got us thinking about other gas engine registries and how they might benefit from the exposure GEM can provide. Thousands of users from across the world visit our website on a daily basis. The more entries a registry has, the more useful it becomes in helping us understand a variety of things about a particular engine, ranging from historical details to potential value. Much like genealogy fills in the gaps of a family tree, gas engine registries help collectors understand a company’s history and quantify what history remains.
So, if you’re maintaining a gas engine registry and are interested in maximizing the way your registry is organized and distributed, please contact me. Help us continue to build the branches of this hobby’s family tree.