Stover Engines and Young Folks

By Staff
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Molly Hackbarth, age 7, owns this fine, running Stover Type KA engine. The display was a great hit and the kids were having fun grinding corn. Her cousin Korah Hosler is overseeing the whole operation.
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Molly Hackbarth shown surrounded by her cousins feeding the Stover corn grinder at the Rock Falls Engine & Tractor Show.  From left to right are Jacob Hosler, Molly Hackbarth, Abbey Hosler, and Korah Hosler.
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This photo shows the future of our hobby. Molly feeds corn into the Stover feed grinder while her KA Stover engine provides the power. 

Well, summer’s here and the show season is going full bore. Despite the heat and drought, the engine nuts are showing off their toys and visiting old friends in the process. While we cover Stover engines in this column, I like to lean the stories toward people (both collectors and spectators) and especially the children.

As the years go by, the folks who remember firsthand how our collectibles were used are slowly fading away. That’s why it is fascinating to watch the interest or even surprise that children and adults show when they are exposed to our antique machines. Maybe it also explains the shift we see in the age of machinery on display. Tractors built after 1938 are becoming quite popular.

When I started collecting 50 years ago, these tractors were being used on every farm in the country. Old tractors were OilPulls, Titans, Aultman & Taylors, and any number of early tractors that had flat radiators, steel wheels and hand starting cranks. At that time, a Farmall F-20 might just squeak into the antique category. Flywheel gas engines were already relegated to the corner of the shed while more modern engines, electric motors and tractors powered farm machinery, old and new. Today, even new generation John Deeres are highly collectible.

Because the future of the hobby is in the hands of younger folks, the Gas Engine Magazine has its Young Iron column that recognizes the importance of these collectors.

Molly’s Stover Engine

Enough with the philosophy, let’s get on with the story. Molly Hackbarth of Rock Falls, Ill., is 7 years old and she is the proud owner of a restored Stover engine, number 185711. This engine is listed in the Stover records as a 2 HP Type KA with a hit-and-miss governor and a Wico magneto. It was shipped to George T. Smith, Clinton, Iowa, on April 6, 1927. Molly’s father, Paul, restored the engine from pieces and gave it to his daughter. She drives a Stover feed grinder with the engine and it makes a fine show display. Molly has three cousins, and they all love to pour corn into the grinder. The display draws a lot of attention and that’s what this hobby is all about. What more can I say?

Stover Registry

The Gas Engine Magazine website sponsors the Stover Gas Engine Registry, which was last updated in May. Since then, I’ve looked up another 50 engines so there will be safely more than 1,650 engines on the registry in the future. Please send your Stover serial number if you would like to know the day and to whom your engine was shipped. Email works the best for me, but you may also phone or write.

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 •

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