P.O. Box 486, LaPorte, Indiana 46350
The exhibition 'Power and the Plow,' scheduled for the July 4th weekend in LaPorte, Indiana will be the second annual gathering of Rumely fans from across the country. This year's events will include Allis Chalmers as well. Rather than being staged at a festival grounds, the event will be held in downtown LaPorte. And the event will feature former employees of the Advance-Rumely and Allis Chalmers implement works. It promises to be a rare meeting those who built farm implements with those who ran them on the farms.
This year's event builds on the unusual and unexpected success of last year. Called 'the Rumely Recollection,' a date was chosen by a few former Advance-Rumely employees to celebrate the demise of the venerable company in 1931-fifty years past. A public service ad or two showed up in the collectors' magazines and the response was immediate. From February on (the date of the event was set for the first weekend in April) letters and phone calls came in from all over the country, inquiring of lodging, whether equipment was needed, and other details.
Over 100 people attended, some from as far away as Florida, Canada, the Dakotas and New York. The Bronsons of Kalamazoo showed up with a beautiful Model 'E' Oil Pull; the Millers of Geneseo, Illinois brought reproductions of song books used by Oil Pull salesmen; the Brubakers of Iowa came in force with piles of memorabilia. Models were uncrated, old brochures were shared and technical information (along with a lot of trivia) was in abundance.
Some 20 employees are still around LaPorte who date their employment to the pre-1931 days making implements for Advance-Rumely. Many thousands of Allis Chalmers employees are still here. This expertise was appreciated by the collectors who were curious about many aspects of the organization and the LaPorte plant. A tour of the original Oil Pull plant was arranged by Allis Chalmers and many visitors made comparisons: imagining the old engine works in the midst of the modern cornhead lines and cotton stripper assembly areas.
Joe Park of Princeton, Wisconsin, delivered a detailed talk on the nature of the financial failure of the company in 1913 (ending M. Rumely and beginning Advance-Rumely). Joe is one of the foremost experts on Rumely lore. He came away from the weekend with a better working knowledge of the engines themselves, having spent some time with collectors.
On Sunday, the second day of the Recollection, Earl Marhanka of Dowagiac, Michigan opened up his famous collection for display to the collectors. Since Marhanka has about every product made by the Advance-Rumely line (including every model of Oil Pull, a truck, Do-Alls, and gas tractors), it was like a pilgrimage to Mecca for the buffs.