Mary Seefeldt-Swanson and her son, Emmit, with their fine Dexter washing machine being driven by a Stover KE. Emmit loves the old engines and can start them himself.
In the past few issues, we have been covering Stover history almost exclusively. Originally I wanted this column to be a mix of shared information and a look at Stover people and their “stuff.” So this time we’re getting back to some of our Stover friends out there in engine land.
Roger and Mary
Roger Seefeldt, his sister Mary Seefeldt-Swanson and I do quite a few shows together. Roger has a large collection of Stovers and other neat machines.
The best part of showing engines with Roger and Mary, besides Mary’s good cooking, is that their equipment is always doing something. That makes their display educational and the spectators love it. My show engines are typically big and cumbersome, so most of the time they just sit there running slowly and looking dumb. I do occasionally thresh with a 12 HP Stover screen-cooled portable engine, but not often enough.
We went over to Roger’s the other day to get the serial numbers of his two Stovers. Before we could escape, we had recorded 22 Stover serial numbers and that didn’t include his Stover Duros.
Cold and tired, my granddaughter Sydni and I spent an hour and a half at the museum looking up the numbers. Sydni was a great help. The books are big and heavy and in deep drawers. We make a numerical list of serial numbers and she gets the books out while I record the information.
Bob and Lorain
I’ve talked to many collectors since starting this column and Bob Jones of Fallen, Nev., has become a regular phone pal. His engine restorations are beautiful, as you can see from the photo on the opposite page. The picture of Bob and his good friend Lorain Forbush was taken in Lorain’s equipment yard. One of those fellows is a sidekick, but I’m not sure which way that goes.
Lorain has owned the 1907 Stover for many years but, much to Bob’s frustration, refuses to start the engine. I think Lorain does it on purpose. Bob keeps hammering on him to start it and maybe some day he’ll see those flywheels spinning.
Anyway, engine collectors are generally great people, and we’ll try to get more folks in the column.
What’s a Junior?
When Stover introduced its line of hopper-cooled engines in 1910, they were called “Juniors.” In contrast, the tank-cooled (closed-cylinder water system) horizontal engines were called “Standards” and the old-style uprights were still called “verticals.” Stover did build some heavy hopper-cooled engines (OE through OJ) on the old standard frame, but the great majority of the engines were the new hopper-cooled Juniors. Some collectors take offense at having their larger (up to 14 HP) hopper-cooled engines being called Juniors. But “Junior” has nothing to do with the size of your pickup truck or any inference about the size of anything else you own – it’s just what Stover called the new line.
The engines were built with smaller flywheels and lighter crankshafts. That doesn’t make the Junior series inferior, it’s just that the original tank-cooled engines were built extra strong. The hopper-cooled engines from the small K, Y, W and T to the large RX, U and RH types are listed in the records as Juniors until about 1918. We gradually see the Junior reference disappear as new engine types come on board.
Even though most of the hopper-cooled engines built between 1910 and approximately 1918 are Juniors, very few engines actually have that identification on their build plate. On top of that, the chroniclers only called them Juniors when they felt like it. The records are all handwritten and some of the clerks were more enthusiastic with detail than their (lazier?) cohorts. So collectors should be aware that their hopper-cooled Stover in this time frame is really a Junior, and if Junior shows up on the ID plate, you have a pretty rare tag.
The Stover Registry
If you provide me with a serial number, I will send you information on when and to whom your engine was shipped from the factory. You can send your serial number by e-mail, phone or letter. If you send an e-mail and don’t get a response in two weeks, please call. Also, please send a real name and phone number so I know whom I’m talking to. All personal information is kept confidential.
Since taking over this chore more than a year ago, I have recorded over 650 Stovers on an Excel spreadsheet that provides a registry of these engines. Christian Williams and GEM have generously put the Stover Registry on the website.
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 • firstname.lastname@example.org .