Engine Collectors Tell the Stories of their Stover Engines

Engine collectors are always on the hunt, but one collector found a Stover engine at the city dump

Don McIntosh and TA Stover

Don McIntosh of Gouverneur, N.Y., proudly displays his engines. The TA Stover is the left-most engine in the line-up.

Photo Courtesy Dave McIntosh

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How did you find your engine? 

As engine collectors, we are always on the prowl for just one more toy. Most engines on the market today are in or have been in someone’s collection. We find them for sale at auctions, from dealers, collectors, garage sales, etc. We are always hoping for the elusive barn find or even garage sale discovery. The engines come in every condition, from perfectly restored to just a pile of parts. Most of the time, though, they come from someone who has already made the discovery, or he got it from someone who discovered it and on down the line.

After looking up literally thousands of Stovers, an occasional engine will still be in the original family. Or it could have come from a mine on the side of a mountain, or even a river or lake. Oil fields and old barns still cough up an engine or two, and deep wells in Texas and other dry states give up their treasure. A recent request was for an engine that came from none of these places. 

You found it where?

Dave McIntosh sent a request to look up engine no. TA265257. The Stover records revealed the engine had been shipped to the Construction Machinery Co. at Waterloo, Iowa, on January 9, 1940. The engine was probably used on a cement mixer or some type of water pump. CMC shipped equipment all over the country. Dave’s dad, Don, has the engine in Gouverneur, N.Y. Because of where the engine was found, we assume whatever machine it was on was originally sent to that area.

While communicating back and forth about the engine, Dave happened to mention where they found the engine and I asked him to fill in the details so we could tell the story in this column. Here is Dave’s story, in his own words:

My dad came to my house on a Sunday morning. He and I and my boys were going to go out for breakfast. The boys had been to a few engine shows with us. One of the boys said, “We found one of those old engines in the town barn dump across the street.” We were outside and about to get into the car, so I told them we would look later. I thought that they must have found an old water pump or something. By the time we returned from breakfast I had forgotten all about it. One of the boys said, “Do you want to see that engine?” I said, “OK, let’s walk over.” When we got there, to Dad and my surprise, it was the Stover. I said, “Go get the four wheeler!” We loaded it and took it home. That was in the early 1990s. The Stover was missing the mag. My dad ordered one from Hit & Miss Enterprises. Dad got the piston moving with not too much effort. When the mag came the Stover started right up. We have run it at shows every year since then. It always runs very well. We never did a good paint job on it. My dad loves to hear it run. So over the 20-some years it had gotten a little oily and didn’t look that good. This spring we fixed up an old generator. When we got that done, I suggested we do the Stover. So we took it apart and did the best we could to make it pretty. I really enjoyed the time working with Dad. One day the Stover will belong to one of the boys that found it.

So instead of a barn find, the McIntosh family found their engine in the city dump.

Stover records

The requests for Stover information never seem to abate, and I try to keep up. Once in a while I lose a letter or a check and find it later. If you sent information and didn’t get a response in a couple of weeks, please give me a call. The online registry is about 400 engines behind, but I made a New Year’s resolution to bring it up to date for Beth. I try to keep up on the responses but it’s a lot of work to keep the registry current.

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 • toadhill@aeroinc.net