This column has generated quite a few questions regarding Stover engines. The color of the engines has been a persistent inquiry we have discussed in the past.
The color of the later hopper-cooled engines has been pretty well determined. After 1916, most Stover engines were painted Brewster green. The new style (coffin-shaped water hopper) engines were Brewster green with yellow and red pinstriping, and the late models Stover made for Sears, Roebuck & Co. were red.
However, a scarcity of early engines with original paint has made it difficult to determine their finish. The early catalogs do not have color pictures of the engines, but what about a color picture from the factory?
My friend Troy Rudy has had a great Stover engine poster for several years. Not only is it a picture of an early upright engine, but it also must have been framed by the factory or may have even hung in the factory. Stenciled on the right side of the oak picture frame are the words “Stover Mfg. Co. Freeport, ILL.” The poster has been in the frame for a long time. The poster is 15-inch-by-24-inch and the frame is 25-inch-by-35-inch, so the whole outfit is fairly large.
After much time and complicated haggling that only fishwives and engine collectors would understand, Troy and I made a swap and the poster now hangs in my library. I hadn’t seen this picture in a long time, and when he brought it over, I realized that it answered some recent questions regarding the finish of the early upright engines. Since the engine on the poster shows the governor in the timing gear, I would date it to right around 1904 or 1905. Here are some observations the poster reveals:
• The faces and sides of the flywheels were left unfinished bright steel.
• The engines were painted red with green flywheels (one of our readers confirmed this on his engine).
• There is a drip oiler low on the cylinder (some of the earlier catalogs do not show this oiler).
While this isn’t a ton of new information, every little bit helps. We’ve looked up more than 350 engines in the records and extra information like this puts color and life into the old entries on the pages of the record books.
Anyway, we continue to look up shipping information from the records if you send the serial number of your Stover engine. I get many requests by e-mail and that works good for me.
owever, there are still fellows who do not get my return e-mail and they don’t send any other way for me to contact them. Please include a phone number with your e-mail. If you send an e-mail and don’t get a response in three weeks, contact me again. You may call or write if you’re not on a computer. The Stephenson County Antique Engine Club would like to thank you for all the donations they have received. The money is going into a fund to digitally copy the records.
We’re putting your engines in a Stover registry but all personal information is kept confidential. Gas Engine Magazine is going to put the Stover registry on its website in the near future.
Until next time, keep your plugs dry and igniters oiled.
Contact Joe Maurer at 797 S. Silberman Rd., Pearl City, IL 61062 • (815) 443-2223 •firstname.lastname@example.org