Australian-Built Stover Engines

Cooper Engineering Co. began rebadging Stover engines around 1907.


| June 2005



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A pre-1936 Cooper brochure, evidenced by the old style bracket arm (the overhead, belt-driven shaft from the flywheel), used from 1929-1935.

Background Information

In 1998 I obtained my first engine, an open-crank 3 HP Stover Type W. In an attempt to find some information on this engine, I wrote a short article for The Old Machinery Magazine here in Australia. As a result, I found that I had a 1920 Cooper, badged as a Stover Type W.

This led me to start researching the Cooper Engineering Co. and the engines they sold. One of the first things I was told was that Cooper never built an engine. Subsequently, this proved to be untrue and I had to sort out the facts from the myths that surrounded the company. As a result of recent research, it now looks as though Cooper began importing and rebadging Stovers about 1907 or 1908.

From the mid-1920s, the range of Stover engines were: 1-1/2 HP Type KE, 2 HP Type KA, 3 HP Type KB and KF, 4 HP Type KG, and 6 HP Type KC. Although these engines were Cooper badged, they still had the Stover serial number stamped on the plate, as did the earlier engines.

Enclosed Crankcase Engines

From 1929, Cooper started selling the new CT range of enclosed crankcase, horizontal Stover engines, and this is where the confusion started. The 1-1/2 HP Type CT-1 was called the Type TA, the 2 HP Type CT-2 the Type TB, the 3 HP Type CT-3 the Type TC and the 4 HP Type CT-4 the Type TD.

The serial numbers posed a problem because some engines had Stover numbers, but other serial numbers did not coincide. The latter only started to become clear as I gathered more information; I will deal with this subject later.

About three and a half years ago, I was contacted by William (Bill) Quirk, who at 89 years of age was still very active and had a vivid memory of his time as an employee of Cooper. He started work in Cooper's Melbourne branch at the age of 15 in 1927, and only left to join the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) in 1940.