This column has been a learning exercise for us. You’ve heard the adage “tidbits of information.” Or, if your spouse is not kind, it would be worthless tidbits of information. Now, we know they’re not worthless and in some cases the tidbits are downright interesting. Like computer bits, the tidbits just keep growing. Since starting “Stover Stuff” we have had a wonderful exchange of knowledge back and forth with readers and hopefully some of this can get passed around. In that effort, we’ll get this show on the road.
Late Stover horizontal engines
As manufacturers refined engine design, there was a shift from the open crankshaft engine to the closed crank system. Wet sump (splash) lubrication and operating cleanliness, both internally and externally, were the obvious goals. Stover followed this trend, but a continued demand for the open-style engine forced the company to offer both types.
1921 is not necessarily “late” for Stover engines, but that’s when the dandy coffin shaped water hopper appeared on the new-style Type K engine. These engines had open cranks. After 1928, Stover, in conjunction with smaller, more modern engines, manufactured two series of hopper-cooled horizontal flywheel engines. The main difference was open and closed crankshafts. There seems to be some confusion on how the styled K engine and the later CT engines were produced relative to each other.
Series K (open crank) and CT (closed crank) engines were built concurrently. The K series continued in various forms and ran through the CT series (new Type T), introduced in 1928. Both series were built until Stover shut down in 1942. The CT series will be covered in the next installment of “Stover Stuff.”
At the risk of being corrected, the following information is passed on with the knowledge that Stover overlapped models and features. And, while I think I know something, I probably don’t. The fact that earlier engines were shipped years after they should have been built (according to serial number and style) doesn’t help matters. Having worked with the records for a while, I can see why it took Lester Roos and Chuck Wendel years to get a handle on what Stover did. The following goes by horsepower, not chronological order.
Post-1921 K Models
All the new-style K’s had open cranks except the baler models.
• The old 1-1/2 HP workhorse K was given the attractive coffin water hopper and was changed to the Type KA. Shortly thereafter, the horsepower was increased to 2 and the flywheels were changed to the 6-hole disc type.
• Introduced in 1924, the KE was a lower cost version 1-1/2 HP. It used disc flywheels (spoked, very briefly) and new hopper, could be had in gasoline only (hit-and-miss), and was supplied with a WICO mag or battery ignition. I’ve seen very few without a mag. The records indicate the KE and KA were made concurrently for several years. The KE was manufactured to the end.
• The KB and KF became the standard new-style 3 HP with open crank. The KF had a lighter frame but, unlike the KB, was only built for a few years.
• The 4 HP KG was very similar to the KB. Only a few were built. At least one 5 HP is known.
• K models built in 6 HP and larger used spoked flywheels and could be had as throttle-governed or hit-and-miss. The KC had a styled hopper, and was first built as a 6 HP engine but was later increased to 8 HP.
• The KD engine was increased from 8 to 10 HP at the same time the KC had its horsepower boost. The KD used the old-style hopper and spoked flywheels. It could be had as a hit-and-miss or throttling governor.
• A handful of KH 10 HP engines were built in the 1920s. They were basically a copy of the old-style Type U engine and were hit-and-miss or throttle governed. While a good engine, it was a stylistic dinosaur. Catalogs show this engine available as late as 1937 but the records don’t support the advertising.
• Stover engine style KJ was a 12 to 15 HP model built into the mid-1930s. It looks like the old un-styled Junior RF engine. These were available throttle-governed or as hit-and-miss.
In the end, the records tell the story. By the late 1930s, very few open crank K models show up in the records. Most of these engines were shipped out of the country. A last batch of 10 KE engines was tested in November 1941. The last of the old K engines were then shipped to different customers and quietly slid into history along with the Stover Co.
The above information was taken from the Stover records, Chuck Wendel’s Power of the Past 3, information provided by the late Lester Roos, the new Stover registry and personal observation.
Back to the Stover records
We continue to look up Stover serial numbers for collectors. Since starting “Stover Stuff,” we have looked up over 150 engines and have gained many new friends. We will continue to look up your Stover engine information if you provide the engine serial number. I prefer to work with e-mail but will answer letters and phone calls. Please provide your name and address or phone number if using e-mail.
Information from the records is available courtesy of the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club and the Silver Creek Museum. A freewill donation to the club for looking up your engine number will help preserve and digitally copy these records. We do not require a donation for the information provided.
Until next time, keep your plugs dry and your igniters oiled.
Contact Joe Maurer at 797 S. Silberman Rd., Pearl City, IL 61062 • (815) 443-2223 •