Letters and Miscellanies

By Staff

To Ron Wiley:

I enjoyed the article about Cooper-Stovers (Gas Engine
, June 2005 issue). It was quite interesting and well

I’m writing to give you a little background on the Stover
records. A fellow named Lester Roos (deceased) had acquired most of
the Stover engine records sometime after Stover went out of
business. He had the records for many years and provided much
information to C.H. Wendel for his books. Lester worked with the
manufacturing and shipping records to establish the serial number
list we all use today.

There are actually at least three types of records that I’m
aware of. A set of manufacturing records, a set of shipping records
and a set of build or specification records. I believe C.H. Wendel
still has the manufacturing records. The shipping records were
donated to the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club (Freeport,
Ill.) by Lester Roos and Chris Johnson (deceased). I have the build
or specification records starting from 1929.

Basically, the three sets of records provided different
information. The manufacturing records provided actual build dates
and testing information by serial number. We don’t know the years
covered by the manufacturing records. The shipping records provide
dates shipped and where shipped by serial number. These records run
from 1902 until the end of production. Some of the engines appear
to have been in inventory for several months, if not years, before
being shipped. The build sheets provide the actual engine
specifications for both Stover standard CT engines and all the
special modifications for Stover customers. These are sheets
defining the changes made by Stover for each custom customer. Hence
the sheet you have defining changes made for Cooper, i.e.,
different flywheels and chiseling off the “Made in USA.”

So, a person can find out when and where their Stover was
shipped by using their engine’s serial number and the shipping
records. I repeat: The shipping dates don’t always match the
manufacturing dates – that’s why it took Lester Roos a long time to
establish the serial number chart we use today. A person can find
out what changes Stover made to their standard engines for a
particular company by using the specification records. One of the
most interesting is the changes made for the Sears Economy

We do not currently have access to the manufacturing records,
but consider ourselves lucky to have access to the other two sets
of records. There may be other records out there that we are not
aware of.

I live 10 miles from the original Stover factory. I have a very
early 1903 Stover upright, serial no. 974, which runs very well. At
this time we think it is the oldest running Stover engine. But you
know how that goes. Of interest to you may be a Stover KE I own,
#KE187805, that has a Stewart (Chicago Flexible Shaft Co. 1-1/2 HP,
600 RPM) engine tag and no Stover tag. It’s a nice running little
engine. Due to the close proximity to the Stover factory, there are
still many Stover engines in this area.

Joe Maurer
Pearl City, Ill.

Editor’s note: Interestingly enough, another Stover has come
to our attention that is believed to be even older. See the feature
“Trinity Treasure” on page 10.

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