My father, Ellis Wellman, began collecting engines in the early 1950s as a teenager - his first being a Maytag that was traded for a 2 HP Witte. (What a step up!) He had become interested in engines from watching them being used on the farms in the area where he grew up.
A trip to the National Threshers Assn., show in Montpellier, Ohio, started an interest in older gas tractors, such as Rumely OilPulls and Aultman & Taylor, etc. The collection then grew over the years to many engines from 1 to 50 HP, and tractors ranging from a John Deere BO to an Aultman & Taylor 22-45.
I came along in 1970, so I've had the Old Iron Bug since day one! I grew up around the engines and tractors and went to many shows, getting to talk to and listen to stories of many early collectors and many other wonderful people over the years. What more could a young lad ask for?
When I got out into the working world, I began to acquire engines and tractors, and Dad has always been a great help with them. Our biggest project was putting together a 20 HP Bessemer Type OD oil engine that had been in pieces for 40 years. What a thrill to see the first puff of white smoke come out the exhaust.
The collection has been downsized over the past 15 years or so, but we still have the Rumely 20-40 OilPull G and the Aultman & Taylor 22-45. The 20-40 Rumely was pictured on the May/June 1966 issue of Gas Engine Magazine. It has only had minor paintwork and decals - remember, in 1962, when it was painted, there were not many "hobby-oriented" vendors.
There has been only one major repair due to an exhaust valve head coming off the stem and puncturing a hole in the no. 1 piston. That's not too bad of a record in 44 years of ownership.
I have enjoyed working with my father over the years and he still comes to visit his "grandchildren," as he calls them, when he is able. Here's to another 40 years of GEM!
Contact Reid Wellman at: 12791 state Route 700, Hiram, OH 44234; (330) 569-9837.