50 HP Engine

William C. Kuhl

Content Tools

8670 Glasgow Road, Cassadaga, New York 14718

My Rumsey was made in Ripley, New York, 1902-1906. I acquired this engine through a trade. Even though in good condition and painted, I had a lot of work to do on it. I made the skid, gas and water tanks, and repainted it.

It was being fired by a spark plug. I changed back to the original wipe-spark system that is operated by a Geneva index-a pin on the cam drives it.

I say it is 5 HP. There is no rating on the nameplate, but most castings have the number 5 on them. This engine has a serial number of 27. A friend has one that's older. Does anyone else have a Ripley Rumsey? We would like to know.

The following information has been gathered from the grandson and granddaughter of Mr. Rumsey. Some is also from the Ripley town historian and other sources.

Charles B. Rumsey was born in Dryden, New York, in 1857. He was of English ancestry. He first had a shop in Homer, New York, but probably didn't build engines there. He did make them in St. Johnsville, Binghamton, Ripley, and Friendship-all in New York. The dates range from 1898 to 1917. He never owned a business but had others back him financially.

Rumsey came to Ripley in 1902 and formed the Rumsey Manufacturing Company, Inc. Associated with him were the brothers Frank and Will Rickenbrode, Jeremiah Mahle and possibly others. Their letterhead stated they were manufacturers of stationary, portable and marine engines. They were made in a building which stood between the New York Central Railroad tracks and Boswell Place. Two sisters of Mr. Rumsey made garments (house dresses and aprons) in the upstairs rooms. The company was operative until 1906 when the plant burned and Mr. Rumsey moved to Friendship.

Just a little extra note: the Hunting-ton Engine Co. built their plant on the site of the former Rumsey Manufacturing Co.

While in Friendship, Rumsey made single cylinder engines ranging from 2 HP (priced at $200) to 25 HP ($1387.50); tandem cylinder from 10 HP ($800) up to 50 HP priced at $2250.00. They also made portable house cleaning machinery, vacuum pumps, air compressors, pneumatic tools, friction clutches, feed mills, etc.

During his lifetime, Mr. Rumsey had about 21 inventions and sold them for little or nothing to individuals who made small fortunes from them. After 1917 he moved to Tampa, Florida, and later to Sarasota. He passed away there in 1950.