REFLECTIONS

A Brief Word

| May/June 1994

  • Stover experimental tractor
    Stover experimental tractor.
  • Domestic 1 HP side shaft
    29/5/17
    R. W. Doss
  • Ottawa engine
    29/5/20A
    Ralph F. Dice Sr.
  • Signal Corps power unit
    29/5/18B
    Guy 'Gus' Simms
  • Moline Universal 9-18 tractor
    29/5/19
    Joseph Gaget S.A.
  • Signal Corps power unit
    29/5/18A
    Guy 'Gus' Simms
  • Small air cooled engine
    29/5/24A
    Dale Boss
  • Ottawa engine
    29/5/20B
    Ralph F. Dice Sr.
  • Swarts Electric Co. engine
    29/5/22
    Rens Visser
  • Double-Cylinder Surface Planing Machine

  • Small air cooled engine
    29/5/24B
    Dale Boss
  • Small air cooled engine
    29/5/24C
    Dale Boss
  • Ensilage & Fodder Cutter
    29/5/25B
    Edgar E. Wagner
  • Climax Engine

    Jim Barratt
  • Appleton Ensilage Cutter
    29/5/25A
    Edgar E. Wagner
  • Unidentified Engine
    29/5/26
    Frank C. Snyder
  • 7 HP American Boy
    29/5/32A
    Richard K. Meister
  • Copar Panzer tractor
    29/5/28
    Del Leichliter
  • Climax Engine

    Jim Barratt
  • Hoffco Scythette Engine
    29/5/34
    Tommy Coffey
  • Unidentified Engine
    29/5/36A
    Harold I. Stark
  • 7 HP American Boy
    29/5/32B
    Richard K. Meister
  • Niles Boring Machine
    Niles Boring Machine.
  • Unidentified Engine
    29/5/36B
    Harold I. Stark
  • Unidentified Engine
    29/5/36C
    Harold I. Stark
  • Small tractor
    29/5/37
    Rev. Leonard Ay cock
  • Unidentified Engine
    29/5/39B
    R. A. Finkenbinder
  • Unidentified Engine
    29/5/39A
    R. A. Finkenbinder
  • Jaeger Model 44H Engine
    29/5/38
    Leon Halbert
  • Salsbury Motor
    29/5/41A
    Jerry Cutlip
  • 1 HP Chanticleer
    29/5/42
    R. A. Finkenbinder
  • Salsbury Motor
    29/5/41B
    Jerry Cutlip
  • 8 HP Bessemer two-cycle engine
    29/5/44
    Jesse E. Cook
  • Suburban Wheel Horse

    Pete Brown
  • International Harvester I-9
    29/5/4A
    Garrison ''Doc'' Brown
  • Unidentified Transmission
    29/5/6
    Jim Windle
  • International Harvester I-9
    29/5/4B
    Garrison ''Doc'' Brown
  • 10 HP Buckeye Engine
    29/5/5
    Paul and Phillip Sheldnick
  • Magma tractor
    29/5/8B
  • Magma tractor
    29/5/8A

  • Stover experimental tractor
  • Domestic 1 HP side shaft
  • Ottawa engine
  • Signal Corps power unit
  • Moline Universal 9-18 tractor
  • Signal Corps power unit
  • Small air cooled engine
  • Ottawa engine
  • Swarts Electric Co. engine
  • Double-Cylinder Surface Planing Machine
  • Small air cooled engine
  • Small air cooled engine
  • Ensilage & Fodder Cutter
  • Climax Engine
  • Appleton Ensilage Cutter
  • Unidentified Engine
  • 7 HP American Boy
  • Copar Panzer tractor
  • Climax Engine
  • Hoffco Scythette Engine
  • Unidentified Engine
  • 7 HP American Boy
  • Niles Boring Machine
  • Unidentified Engine
  • Unidentified Engine
  • Small tractor
  • Unidentified Engine
  • Unidentified Engine
  • Jaeger Model 44H Engine
  • Salsbury Motor
  • 1 HP Chanticleer
  • Salsbury Motor
  • 8 HP Bessemer two-cycle engine
  • Suburban Wheel Horse
  • International Harvester I-9
  • Unidentified Transmission
  • International Harvester I-9
  • 10 HP Buckeye Engine
  • Magma tractor
  • Magma tractor

As most of you know, we spend most of our time researching and writing about vintage engines and tractors. Many of you have probably seen this 1920s photograph of a Stover experimental model. (It is in our Power in the Past, Volume 3.) For reasons unknown, this model never made it past the experimental stage.

At the time, Stover was a major player in the gas engine business, probably ranking among the top five. It appears that Fairbanks-Morse was the largest, followed by International Harvester Company. There were other major companies including the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company, Nelson Bros., and Fuller & Johnson, to name a few. However, Stover was among the top five, and in a better position to develop a tractor than many of its competitors.

Why did some tractors sell, and why didn't others (like this Stover model) ever get off the ground? A book could be written on this question, and indeed, the many suppositions written over the years would make a very large book. In the case of this Stover tractor, it never got past the experimental stage, and this provides some clues. It is likely that the company decided against further experiments and further expenditures of money to pursue the venture. Given the competitive nature of the business, this was probably a wise decision. Perhaps the Stover people got wind of the Farm all experiments over at the International Harvester Test Farm. This in it-self was probably a sobering thought, since IH had seemingly limitless funds for research and development work.

Double-Cylinder Surface Planing Machine: Cylinder Belted at Both Ends Forged Steel Cylinders Self-Acting Pressure BarsBed Raises and Lowers in Extra Wide Gibs Improved Tightener for Feed BeltFriction Rolls in Each End of Bed Planes Up to 26 Inches Wide and 6 Inches Thick Feed Taken from the Countershaft or the Cylinder.



For their part, IH was willing and able to designate major funding toward its experimental tractors, and numbered some of the world's best designers among its staff. IH and some of the other major builders also had a well developed distribution and dealer network. Sufficient funds were available for major advertising campaigns. These, and many other factors, made it possible for the majors to completely swamp the competition in their wake. The bottom line is that it wasn't always the best tractor models that came from the major builders . . . sometimes the small companies had models that offered innovative new features. Yet, they were unable to get their message out to the farmers, and thus, were unable to sell their tractors in the quantities needed for efficient production.

Have you ever wondered how large engine cylinders were accurately bored? See the photo of a Niles horizontal boring machine. These were built in many sizes, to accommodate virtually any boring job. This illustration is from a huge catalog from Niles-Bement-Pond that we acquired some years ago.



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