Granddad's Stover

Stover engine

This Stover V model 1 HP engine is owned by my grandfather John H. Williams of Holcom, West Virginia.

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1211 Outlook Street, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania 15065

He bought the engine in 1920, at what we today would call a yard sale. As Granddad likes to say, he gave a good price for the little Stover-$15.00. Along with the engine, he was given a grindstone. Wouldn't we all like to find one at this price?

In the past four or five years, my dad, grandfather and I have gone to many steam shows, and we have never seen an engine like Granddad's $15.00 Stover.

Three years ago Granddad told my dad and me to take it home and see if we could get it to run. Of course, we were all smiles on the way home, but then we remembered what Granddad had warned us about. One time he had started it, and it was 'out of control' as he says-he thought the thing would fly apart, so he shut it down and it hadn't run again until last summer.

Since the engine had been stored in an outbuilding that hadn't been used often, the rod bearing cap, governor weights, mixer, and gas tank came up missing.

Here in Pennsylvania, I found an old German craftsman in Saxonburgh who cast the governor weights for us. Also, a good friend, George Matas of Sarver, made a new bearing cap. Granddad had discovered the cylinder was stuck, so he had soaked it with kerosene faithfully for years.

Neither Dad nor I had ever started an engine, and we didn't know what the mixer was supposed to look like, so we improvised one with an elbow and old gas regulator. With this, we felt it would maybe look as original as possible.

Since then, we have found the original mixer and gas tank. The little engine is all painted and shined up now and proudly taken to the steam shows when we have the time.

There are now four generations of us to enjoy the little Stover. My grandfather will be 81 years young this August and my son will be 7 in September, so you see we go from the 20th century into the 21st with our love of little engines.