8912 N. Rasmussen Tucson, Arizona 85741
About June of last year, I acquired the little Stover K engine
shown here. The engine is 1 HP, rated at 500 r.p.m. It was sold by
the Krakauer, Zork, and Moye hardware store of El Paso, Texas and
Chihuahua, Mexico. Engine collectors in the southwest U.S. are
familiar with them. I think they are still in business as Zork
According to some Stover serial number data I got somewhere,
this engine was built in the very early part of 1912. The serial
#K36349 should place this engine in the first three year run of the
K model when they were still only 1 HP instead of the later
I think this engine was built a little too early to have come
with a Webster Tri-polar magneto, but the bracket #A303M20 is
correct according to the December 1986 GEM lists. I suppose some
industrious owner got tired of batteries and retrofitted a field
kit in the past. I also have an eight cycle Aermotor with a
retrofitted Webster and bracket. That engine has only a 3 digit
serial number and is possibly as old as 1909. Anyway they both look
good with Tri-polars and run well on them. My engine did not have a
carburetor when I got it, and I think it might have used the three
bolt mount. I had to use a later four bolt type until I get the
right one. The overall condition of the engine indicated that it
was not run to death. No wear was found on any of the shafts
supporting cam followers, latch outs, etc. Bearings were all
original, and the bearing adjustments had not been filed down to
adjust clearance by any of the previous owners.
The flywheels of this K are heavier than the
11/2 HP models. The faces are about
1/4‘ wider. At one time, this engine was
a little temperamental for an owner and got ‘beat up.’
There is a several square inch area on the flywheel faces just
covered with deep ‘dings.’ It seems about one in ten of my
engines have suffered a beating. I find that the owners did not
tend to beat breakable parts, like mags or spokes or carbs. I used
to think the marks were from being used as a temporary anvil.
Note that this engine was equipped with the optional butter
churn pulley, available only from the factory according to Mr.
The color is as close a match as I could make to some original I
found. The paint is from Ace Hardware and is their own trade name.
It consists of four parts vermillion and one part dutch orange. I
overcoated the final paint coat with a coat or two of polyurethane.
It protects against gas and oil, ultraviolet light, and makes a
nice gloss for a longer time.
The main body castings of this engine were the worst I have run
across. I also think this early design was very poorly thought out,
with special note given the bearing arrangement of the timing gear
and cam lobe. It runs and starts really well though. The spokes are
slightly offset. The engine seems to be well-balanced as it runs on
I’ve enjoyed GEM for six years now; I thought it was time I
contribute to it. I hope a few of you might learn a little kernel,
though it is a really basic article. Sometimes I assume newcomers
know things they do not. Six years ago I knew very little about
engines of any kind. Good hunting!