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D.C. Stover and Henry Ford

Author Photo
By Joe Maurer | Apr 23, 2013

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The Stover feed grinder made specifically for the Model T Ford chassis. This chassis would be from 1916 or earlier with a brass radiator. While the chassis has no tires, it appears that all the controls are still available to drive the grinder where needed.
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The Great Depression was picking up steam when Stover General Catalog No. 70 was published in 1930.

Did the two geniuses ever meet? Probably not, since D.C. Stover
was much older than Ford. Did their destinies intertwine? You bet! I’m going to
enjoy this story because I like old engines, including Stovers, but also love
old automobiles. I’ve had many antique cars and trucks over the years, and I
still have a couple that we use on tours and displays. Usually, old engines and
old cars don’t get mixed up in the narrow scope of our hobby. They do in this
story.

The Model T Ford

Arguably the most important car sold to the driving public
was the Model T Ford. Introduced in October 1908, the Model T was the realization
of a dream Henry Ford had to produce a reliable but inexpensive car for the
average worker, especially the farmer. There are volumes written about Ford and
his Model T, so we’ll just get to the bottom line. Ford designed a light,
4-cylinder car made from superior materials and was able to sell the car ever
more cheaply by mass production. As he took cost out of producing his car, he
passed the savings to the customer and his own factory workers. Before the
Model T Ford, people living on farms and in rural communities relied on horses
to get their crops to towns or railroads. Other than walking, horses provided
the only reliable transportation to move folks and supplies around the
countryside. A horse and buggy cost almost as much as a Model T, and the horses
got hungry and tired. So, by 1927, the last year of production, Ford had built
more than 15 million Model T cars and trucks and put a lot of horses in the
pasture (or glue factory).

What do you do with
an old Model T Ford?

Fords were recycled. With a sturdy little 20 HP engine and
millions of pre-owned (used) Model T’s floating around, it was only natural for
the farmer to use the car as a power unit. The Stover Manufacturing &
Engine Co. didn’t miss the opportunity.

Stover’s General Catalog No. 70, dated Jan. 1, 1930, shows
feed grinders, corn shellers and power take-off units built to mount directly
on the Model T Ford chassis. 1930 was the first full year of the Great
Depression, and farmers were hit very hard. It would have been cheaper to buy an
old Ford for $10 (about $140 today) than to buy a tractor or even feed a horse.
However, Stover was not unique. Several companies sold equipment to modify the
Model T for a myriad of chores.

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 • toadhill@aeroinc.net

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