Stover Stuff

| October 2008

  • 1fineengineStoversgravesite.jpg
    'Above: One of many fine engines at the Stover Reunion 2006 in Freeport, III. '
  • fineengineStoversgravesite.jpg
    'Left: D.C. Stover’s gravesite, the tallest monument in the city cemetary. '
  • VacantStoverFactory.jpg
    Above: The vacant Stover factory buildings in Freeport.
  • VacantStoverFactory-1.jpg
    Right: Stover engine sold by John Deere. This engine has the original paint and decals.
  • 1909Stover12HPengine.jpg
    A 1909 Stover 12 HP engine driving an 1893 Champion threshing machine.

  • 1fineengineStoversgravesite.jpg
  • fineengineStoversgravesite.jpg
  • VacantStoverFactory.jpg
  • VacantStoverFactory-1.jpg
  • 1909Stover12HPengine.jpg

Story by Joe Maurer, photos by Ron Martin

Freeport's finest

Within half a century, Stover Engine Works manufactured more than 277,000 engines. That abundance of engines means a couple things. First, there are many people in engine land who have affection for, or at least an interest in, Stover engines. Second, because of the number of engines still out there, it seems appropriate to discuss these engines, the engine owners and events as they relate to Stover. What better format for this discussion than Gas Engine Magazine? Since we're not sure where we're going here, we'll use reader response to establish the direction of this department.

We will occasionally reference the Stephenson County Antique Engine Club, of which I'm a member, because it calls Freeport, Ill., home just as Stover did; hence the club's motto, "The Home of the Stover Line." Also, the club has a very valuable commodity relative to Stover engines - records. Currently, we have the shipping records from serial number 500 through the end of engine production. These records tell, by serial number, the date and to whom an engine was shipped. That's pretty nice to know. C.H. Wendell has manufacturing records, which he is donating to our club. These records will be very valuable as a cross reference to the shipping records. Also, we have build sheets for engines customized by Stover and sent to other companies. These records start in 1928 and list approximately 200 companies to which Stover sold modified engines. Information from the shipping records has been available for about 40 years.

In the past, members of the club volunteered to send information to inquiries about specific engine serial numbers. We will continue this service with myself as the contact. We will ask for a voluntary donation to help offset preservation costs, to put a steel door on our fireproof storage room (it currently has a wooden one) and to electronically back up the paper records.

Stover Reunion 2006

What actually happened during the Stover Reunion in July of 2006? Well, you've read articles in GEM covering some of the engines, but beyond that, not much has been reported. The reunion was a great success even though Freeport suffered a record heat wave. Participants came from 16 states and two foreign countries.

Engine folks came from across the country hauling some really large engines thousands of miles. Celebrities included our banquet speakers, C.H. "Chuck" Wendel and Ron Wiley from Australia. Chuck was also available in gasoline alley to sign books. We really appreciated his fortitude, signing books in the heat. Richard Backus and Erin Shipps represented GEM. Richard donated free issues of GEM with articles relating to Stover.


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