Letters and Miscellanies

By Staff

My friend Eldred Johnstone sent me an article called “Sheep
Shearing Stewart” from the December 1989 issue of GEM
about a Stewart engine. It is online at

I am a little confused as to which engine Robert Hall (in the
article) has, a2HP Type KA open crank, serial no. KA167208, made in
1925 or a Type TB enclosed crankcase, serial no. TB255294, made in
1938. The photos were not very clear, but they look like the Cooper
Ideal sold in Australia first using the 1 HP Type V from around
1920, then the Type KA from 1925 and finally the 2 HP Type TB until
the early 1940s.

Stewart was the name used on Stover engines sold in the U.S. by
the Chicago Flexible Shaft Co., which was the parent company of
Cooper Engineering in Australia. Hence the Cooper plates on Stover
engines sold in Australia.

The engine could not have been purchased from the Sunbeam Corp.
in 1925, as CFS did not change the company name to Sunbeam until
1946. The Sunbeam division of CFS came into being in 1921 and made
household products such as the Mixmaster. I think just about
everyone’s mum or wife has or had one.

In regard to the shearing gear, a vertical tube was bolted to
the hopper that held a bracket arm that is an overhead shaft driven
by a flat belt on one of the flywheels; this in turn drives the
downtube (flexible shaft with gear joints) that the shearing
handpiece is attached to. This type of shearing machine can still
be found in Australia. I have two Cooper two-stand shearing
machines, the oldest one with a 1929 Copper Type TC 3 HP enclosed
crankcase engine. I also have a single stand Cooper Small Flock
powered by a Cooper-made Johnson 1 HP Type X500 Iron Horse engine.
These all use bracket arms that first came on the market in 1905 on
the Stewart Little Wonder that changed very little until they went
out of production in Australia in the early 1960s.

I have done some research into the introduction of shearing
machinery in the U.S. and now have a reasonable knowledge of this
subject. Eldred and myself have had very little success in finding
anyone interested in this subject in the U.S., hence our interest
in the information on the website. I wonder if there is any
interest in this type of machinery in the U.S. If so, we should be
able to help readers with information.

Ron Wiley

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