History of the Stover Engine Works

Not just gas engines: A brief history of the Stover Engine Works

| May/June 1981

Lester stands beside a homemade auto-buggy

Lester L. Roos, Geneseo, Illinois stands beside a homemade auto-buggy built during his boyhood.

D. C. Stover began building windmills in the 1870s. Stover's inventive bent was by no means limited to windmill developments. During his life, Mr. Stover developed a host of machines, including feed grinders, spring making machinery, and numerous other inventions. The "Stover style" barbed wire is eagerly sought by barbed wire collectors.

Gas engine experiments began in the Stover shops in 1895. Undoubtedly, several experimental styles emerged prior to the earliest production models. Photographic evidence indicates that the earliest Stover engines were of the sideshaft style, although there are no references to their engine in Stover literature, and none are known to exist.

During 1903 and 1904, Stover engines assumed the basic designs that were used for about 20 years. The rapid technological changes which occurred during this period saw phenomenal improvements in design, yet the early Stover engines were able to prevail for an exceptionally long time compared to many competitors.

A 1905 Stover catalog illustrates the 2, 3, and 5 horsepower vertical engines. Existing records show that the 2 horsepower Style A was originally given a 1? horsepower rating-only 613 of these engines were built. Likewise, the Style B, 3 horsepower engine was re-rated to 4 horsepower, effective with No. 20488 of March 3, 1910. The5horse-power size was re-rated to 4 horsepower, effective with No. 21208 of May 18, 1910. Prior to the 1910 modifications and new horsepower ratings, the Stover vertical engines featured a one-piece cylinder and crankcase. After this time the cylinder and crank case were cast separately.

Regular features of the Stover vertical engines were a fuel pump, overflow-type mixer, and enclosed crankcase. The fuel tank was situated in the engine base, but could also be located outside the building if desired.

At the top of the vertical engine series stood the Style S, 9 horsepower model. The first of these engines was No. 9080, with production ending after 41 units. The Style S engine used a one-piece cylinder and crankcase. Production of this style ended with the March 12, 1910 introduction of the Style YS engine, a 10 horsepower model featuring a separate cylinder and crankcase. Only 51 of these engines had been erected at the end of production on June 18, 1917.

galen stover beery
5/22/2011 12:51:02 AM

One of D.C. Stover's older brothers was Jacob Allen Stover, my maternal great-grandfather. Having done quite a bit of genealogical research, I wrote up a lot of family details on D.C. Stover for relatives some years ago. Would you be interested in this?