Stover catalogs can be used as a valuable tool
to study Stover engine development. The early catalogs show the
basic engine design while later catalogs describe the many uses of
the engines. A study of the catalogs reveals both technical
development and the progression of engine application. The foreign
catalogs not only show the products, but they tell us about the
world markets that Stover sold to. The following is not a
definitive history of Stover, but merely significant observations
from specific catalogs. A study of the original Stover records will
show overlap of production types in certain years.
This is the earliest catalog I have. Bennett Bros. Co., Lowell,
Mass., is stamped in blue ink on the first page. The engines are
all closed-cylinder, tank-cooled. The 1902 catalog shows the
conventional pushrod Stovers we recognize today. Early
advertisements indicate Stover was selling a horizontal sideshaft
engine. It is not known if any of these engines have survived or
even how many were made, but they were phased out by 1902. The 1902
catalog shows horizontal engines up to 12 HP and vertical engines
no larger than 4 HP. These engines are larger and heavier than
later engines of the same horsepower.
The horizontal and vertical engines pictured in this catalog
have no fuel pumps. The Stover name is cast in relief on the
cylinders. The governor is built into the camshaft gear on both
types of engine and they have square pushrods. The vertical engines
are shown with “beehive”-type fuel mixers and “Stover Engine Works
– Freeport Ill. USA” cast into the flywheels. There is no drip
oiler shown on the vertical engines, but a compression release
valve is present. All the engines are shown with low-tension
igniter ignition. Only one engine is shown with an identification
plate. It is rectangular and appears to be cast.
The catalog recommends using the engines to run feed grinders,
water pumps, corn shellers, fanning mills, wood saws and even ice
cream freezers. Most of these operations are illustrated.
The testimonials found in the catalog are of special interest
because they give us a glimpse of Stover engine use in the 19th
century. It’s pretty hard to find someone from this early period to
ask about actually using Stover engines. Nine testimonials are
listed in the back of the catalog and they were all received
between November and December of 1901. The Hawley Brothers of
McConnell, Ill., wrote: “I wish to inform you that the six horse
power engine I purchased from you in September, 1898 has given
perfect satisfaction thus far. Will run anything on my farm that
can be run with six horsepower engine. We run wood saw, corn
husker, feed grinder and corn sheller. Has not cost one cent for
repairs as yet and runs like a watch.” This particular testimonial
is important because it’s a good indication that Stover was selling
engines by at least 1898. Unfortunately, there is no way to know if
Hawley’s engine was one of the elusive sideshafts.
1906 Stover – Buenos Aires
This catalog is written in Spanish but is quite fascinating. The
agent is Juan Shaw and Hijos. Sometime in 1903 all Stover engines
changed from square to round pushrods, and fuel pumps with overflow
fuel mixers were used. All the engines in this catalog have these
changes. However, while the vertical engines still have the
governor in the cam gear, the horizontal engines have the new style
flywheel governor. The vertical engines are shown in 2, 3 and 5 HP.
Five to 50 HP horizontal engines were available. The engines all
have the closed-cylinder cooling system since Stover didn’t offer
hopper cooling until 1910. In addition to all the typical saw rigs,
pumping outfits, etc., are Stover motor launches (boats),
“tractors” and even a Stover-powered railroad locomotive.
I doubt that the Stover motor launches were built by Stover. I’m
not aware that Stover built marine engines, but I’ve been fooled
before. Two types of launches are shown in the catalog. There is a
60-foot long closed boat with a 2-cylinder engine that appears to
be a typical 2-cycle marine engine with a heavy flywheel. A smaller
open boat with a 1-cylinder, 2-cycle engine is also shown. I would
like to know if anyone has information on Stover marine type
Stover built some heavy “tractors” by mounting their horizontal
engine on a Morton chassis. This is advertised in the catalog. We
know that Stover did actually send some of these “tractors” to
Juan Shaw and Hijos also advertised a true railroad locomotive,
which used a Stover horizontal engine. The locomotive is fairly
small and is shown pushing a load of logs.
1909 Stover – John Deere
The date of this catalog is derived from its content since there
is no date in the book. Daniel Stover died Jan. 17, 1908. His death
is memorialized in this catalog. The Stover Motor Car Co. is still
shown, as is the S-9 upright engine. Both were gone by 1910. Also,
there are no hopper-cooled engines in this catalog. Collectors
believe the hopper-cooled engines were introduced as the “Junior”
series in 1910, although C.H. Wendel (Power in the Past Volume 3)
tells us a handful of Model A1, 1 HP hopper-cooled engines were
introduced in 1909.
This catalog has “John Deere Plow Co. General Agents. Kansas
City – Denver – Oklahoma City” printed near the bottom of the
cover. The agent printing does not look like the usual “stamped
ink” that many Stover catalogs exhibit. It appears to be printed on
the cover, as is a very decorative “Stover Engine Works – Freeport,
Illinois. U.S.A.” So John Deere was selling Stover engines in this
Vertical engines in 2, 3, 5 and 9 HP were offered. Horizontal
engines from 5 to 50 HP were also advertised. None were
hopper-cooled. The only engine-driven accessories are a “No
Flicker” gasoline engine dynamo for generating electricity and a
couple of Stover pump jacks. It could be assumed that John Deere
probably manufactured most of their own agricultural equipment that
would otherwise be seen in Stover catalogs.
Also of interest, the vertical engines in the catalog are the
later two-piece crankcase/cylinder design. There has been some
speculation on when Stover quit manufacturing the one-piece engine
frame. The two-piece frame evidently came before 1910. The S-9
vertical was introduced in 1907 and is shown in this catalog as a
two piece engine. It may be possible that one of the Stover experts
has a definitive date for the change.
No. 17, 1912 catalog
Unlike the other Stover catalogs, the cover of this catalog is
artistically embossed. The tops of the pages are marked “Stover’s
Good Engine.” The engines could be purchased for use with gas
(natural or producer gas) or gasoline, with several pages in the
catalog stating, “gasoline engines will always be shipped unless
otherwise ordered.” All-fuel (kerosene, etc.) engines are not shown
in this catalog. The engines were available with stationary, skid
or portable mounting.
All of the previously discussed tank-cooled horizontal and
vertical engines are in this catalog. The tank-cooled horizontal
engines were offered in 6 to 30 HP in portable and full base
configurations. Also available are the large, air-start 45 and 60
However, of significant technical importance is a whole series
of hopper-cooled engines in a range of 1 to 14 HP. All but the 1 HP
engine can be purchased with full or half bases. It is known that
this range would include the K, T, and W model designations
(Juniors), but only the U-type engine is identified by a letter,
and the designation, “Junior,” is not mentioned. The U series is
available in 6 to 14 HP and is National Board of Fire Underwriters
approved. These engines have a decal on the hopper in the shape of
a globe with “Stover” in the center. All gasoline engines above
2-1/2 HP use a fuel pump.
Portable saw rigs, pump jacks and friction clutch pulleys are
advertised in this catalog.
1916 and 1917 catalogs no. 20 and 21
These colorful catalogs are some of Stover’s prettiest. The
cover on no. 20 shows a big sun with “Stover’s Good Engine” in the
center. The sun shines down upon a farm with a gas engine running a
silo filler. The back page shows a farmer dumping a bushel of ear
corn into a feed grinder powered by a Stover engine. Catalog no. 21
has the same sun shining down on a pristine farm with a young lad
in the foreground waving to the farmer hauling a fine-looking green
Stover engine in the back of his wooden-wheeled wagon. Most of the
previous vertical and horizontal engines are still available.
On a technical note, “all fuel” throttling-governor engines were
offered, as were magnetos. The new little 1 HP Type V engine was
available, and the K was then a 1-1/2 HP engine.
Canadian Stover – Brandon, Manitoba
An exact date cannot be established for this catalog, although
it is probably pre-1917. Canadian Stover engines are a mixed bag.
We know that some of the engines were made in Canada. We know from
the records that Freeport Stover shipped engines to Canadian
distributors. It is possible that engines were made from Canadian
and American parts.
And we know from an ID tag that Canadian Stover actually bought
engines from the Rawleigh-Schryer Co. in Freeport, Ill. This was a
direct competitor of the American Stover. There is a photo in this
catalog showing a man moving a 1-1/2 HP Stover on a
wheelbarrow-type cart. The photo is identical to a picture in a
The engines in this catalog are similar to American Stovers. The
water hoppers are a little different and the horsepower ratings
vary. Most of the engines are hopper-cooled, running from 1-1/2 HP
to 16 HP. There is a 25 HP screen-cooled portable engine available
for $1,100. In contradiction, the text offers screen-cooled engines
from 9-1/2 HP to 23 HP. The 1-1/2 HP engine can be had for $38.50
on a skid. The Webster magneto costs a whopping $11.50 extra! The
magneto is $12.50 extra on the larger engines. Only gas and
gasoline engines are advertised.
This catalog has a huge variety of products besides engines. In
addition to the usual farm items, there are washing machines,
butter churns, rope makers, an ammeter, wheelbarrows, spark plugs,
batteries, oil, etc. A Stover wooden-wheeled wagon is pictured in
addition to a Fuller & Johnson plow.
More catalogs later
Because there are several later types of Stover engines, the
second-generation catalogs will be covered in a future article.
Contact Joe Maurer at: 797 S. Silberman Road, Pearl City, IL
61062; (815) 443-2223; email@example.com