Stover Stuff: Cooper-badged Stover engines found in Australia
To the average American, Australia, with its strange animals and unique landscape, is a far off place of mystery and wonderment. Australia’s English colonial roots and frontier individualism strike a cord with the average American who is aware of our own colonial history. The old engine hobby and the Internet have allowed me to get to know many Australians and I can honestly say I’ve never met an Aussie I didn’t like.
Many American-made engines were exported to Australia, and Stover engines were being shipped individually or as a power unit on some type of machinery from the beginning. So, as the Stover engine registry grows, so do the number of engines that still survive in Australia. Many of the Stover engines “down under” are standard models. However, true to form, Australia has to come up with some hybrid, oddball Stover engines that I didn’t even know existed, but show up bigger than life in photographs and are listed in the records. I can understand the difference in the flora and fauna, but the engines?
The Stover-Australian connection all started back in 2006 when the Freeport Illinois Engine Show put on a Stover reunion and Ron Wiley from Australia was one of our featured speakers. Ron is the resident authority on Cooper-badged Stovers and has contributed articles on the subject to GEM. Some of this information is available on the GEM website. Basically, the majority of Stover engines were sold in Australia under the Cooper banner.
A couple of years ago Patrick Livingston of Leichardt, NSW (New South Wales), Australia, requested some information on Stover engine #YC97867, which is a 6 HP vertical shipped from Stover to the Coldwell Shipping Co., San Francisco, Calif. (Coldwell was one of the exporters that shipped Stover engines to Cooper.) This was a fairly typical request until this engine turned out to be a throttling governor vertical, of which only 22 are listed in the records. They were mixed in a group of engines starting with #96866 and ending with #97894. Since that time, Patrick has gotten married, had a child and, “by the way,” found four more throttling governor Stover verticals in Australia and New Zealand. I must apologize to Patrick because I was more excited about the silly engines than his other, more significant accomplishments.
C.H. Wendel briefly mentions the throttling uprights in his Power of the Past Vol. 3, but this is the first time I have actually come across existing engines.
The Stover 2-1/2 HP Type W Junior was introduced as one of Stover’s first hopper-cooled engines in 1910 and was increased to 3 HP in 1915. They were built into the mid-1920s. Although called a Junior, the W was a hefty, well-built workhorse with heavy flywheels and frame. While not extremely rare, they are a desirable, nice running engine in this country.
A recent request from Tim Clancy of Orange, NSW, Australia, to look up his Stover #W112529 started an interesting chain of events. Tim’s engine is hopper- cooled. He casually mentioned that his mate, Rod Schoonderbeek, had Stover #W127245 that was tank- cooled. I had never heard of a 3 HP tank-cooled Type W, but the records confirmed it. There were at least three groups of type W 3 HP tank-cooled engines all sent to Chicago Flexible Shaft Co. Flexible had shipped thousands of sheep shearing units to Australia over the years. Most of the units were rebadged with the Cooper logo.
The tank-cooled engines appeared to be the Type W Junior without the water hopper. So far, the records indicate they were made in late 1922 and into 1923. One of the photographs shows an engine with a WICO magneto that makes it a late W. Tim then mentions that he has seen several tank-cooled Stover Ws and proceeded to send some photos. As icing on the cake, Ron Wiley has a list of 30 Stover Type W engines in Australia and 23 of them are tank-cooled. There is no way to know how many of these tank-cooled engines were shipped to Chicago Flexible Shaft Co. because at least one known tank-cooled W isn’t identified as “tank-cooled” in the records. The engines may have been custom made for Chicago Flexible Shaft because catalogs from that period list the smallest horizontal tank- cooled Stover as 8 HP.
Now that’s one engine that would be rare over here. Anybody want to ship me one?
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 • firstname.lastname@example.org.