Vintage photo of union men at Stover

By Staff
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Photo courtesy of Joe Maurer
Union workers at the Stover foundry pose for a photo taken by J.L Wareham of Freeport, Ill.

So what does this photo, taken by J.L. Wareham of Freeport, Ill., have to do with Stover Stuff?

The back of the photo reads “Stover Moulding Union Men.” In studying the picture, I was just wondering what these guys would think about us hauling their engines around today. The photo has been printed extra large for you to study because it is a 100-year-old look at people who surely were no different than us, except in the clothes they wear.

OK, so what’s in the picture? Bowler hats were obviously popular, as were suspenders and an occasional waist coat (vest). I wonder if you can tell a fellow’s personality by the way he wears his hat. Some are cocked, some are on the back of the head and some are just plunked down by the ears.

There are a classic variety of facial expressions. One beard and a handful of mustaches show up.

There must have been some form of equal opportunity employment because the fellow on the lower left has a peg leg.

There appears to be a boy or young man next to the center flywheel. It doesn’t look like there are any really old men in the picture. I bet the work was hard.

There are also some things shown that might interest  Stover nuts. We would assume the flywheels, variable speed pulleys and other items are wooden patterns. There is a form to cast one of Stover’s famous drill presses. Actually, the drill press pattern helps confirm the photo is, in fact, of the Stover foundry. The other patterns are unidentified.

Tools include a sifting screen and pouring ladle. We don’t know what the long rods with the mushroom heads are.

Another great show season
It was great summer for engine shows. In the Midwest, the weather was generally cool with little rain on the weekends.

Anyone who shows engines works hard to play, loading, unloading, setting up, reloading, unloading and putting stuff away. By the time we get home and unload from a show, we’ve had all the fun we can stand. However, the very next weekend, we are right back at it with enthusiasm.

Of course the guys who can afford to leave their engines on a trailer have it a little easier if not a little less diverse.

I have large and small engines and I love them all. When it comes to showing engines, the smaller engines are easier to handle but can be harder to tie down and there are more to keep running. The larger engines can be much harder to handle but you only have one or two engines to keep running and they are easier to tie down.

Anyway, the best part of any show is the people. We have a great group of folks in this hobby.

New Stover registry
I continue to look up Stover serial numbers for engine owners and have compiled a Stover registry that is now being hosted by There are 462 Stovers on the registry at this time. If you had your engine looked up over a year ago, please resend the serial number if you want your engine on the registry.

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 •

Visit the online Stover registry at

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