A Tricycle-Style RUMELY DOALL

Rumely doll tractor

The tractor 'as received,' right side, January 1994.

Carolyn Brown

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Photos by Carolyn Brown, 12201 Vermillion Road, Longmont, Colorado 80501

It's not often I experience a coincidence of any significance. You know the kind I mean an incident you look back on and wonder just how all the pieces came together. This is a story about such an occurrence; it is also a request for information from you collectors.

In early 1991 I ordered a publication called Farm Equipment Oddities, written by Daryl Miller. It arrived March 8th, 1991. My wife and I both browsed through it and found it interesting, although there was nothing in it even remotely resembling anything I own. This was on a Friday. How do I remember that this little publication arrived on Friday, March 8th, 1991? Because Saturday, the day after receiving it, we went on a previously planned outing in rural eastern Colorado to check on a farm where approximately 20 years before I had seen some rundown old tractors silently rusting away. This had been years before I was involved in collecting antique equipment, and I didn't even know what kind of tractors I had seen there, but I was sure I remembered the location of the farm. My memory was good and we drove right to the place, and found it to be abandoned. We drove around behind the shed, and sure enough, there were two old tractors still sitting right where I remembered them.

I immediately recognized one of the two a Twin City model KT. The second tractor was very unusual I couldn't identify it. I had been collecting and restoring old iron for about five years at that time, and had attended a number of shows, accumulating books and magazines and so forth. I felt I was relatively knowledgeable about old tractors.

But here I was stumped. The tractor was incomplete; the hood and radiator were gone and much of the engine was missing, all of which may have made it more difficult to recognize. (I now know that had the tractor been whole, I still wouldn't have been able to identify it). I found casting numbers on many of the parts, but no manufacturer's name was to be found anywhere.

There was a slight resemblance, at least in the front, to an early Case CC similar gooseneck steering with gear sector and pinion on the pivot, and cast front wheels having broad, somewhat flat spokes. My wife Carolyn said, 'It looks just like one of those tractors in that book we got yesterday.' In my authoritative, tractor-wise way I replied, 'Nah.'

We looked both tractors over pretty well neither of them were cream-puffs, but of the two, the Twin City certainly looked more restorable as it was complete.

We inquired at the nearest house and found that the tractor's owner had moved to another farm several miles distant, so we went there. Luckily, he was home that day, and after some small talk the subject got around to the two old tractors. The owner, an elderly gentleman who had lived in that area his whole life, informed me both tractors might be for sale for the right price. He also told me the one I couldn't identify is a Rumely Do All. I thought 'Hmm... he must be mistaking it for another tractor he had at some time.' I had seen pictures of Rumely Do Alls, and this was no Rumely Do All. He said he had most of the missing parts for it stored in the shed, and after some discussion as to prices for the two machines, I told him I'd give it some thought, and we drove home.

The price he asked for the Twin City was far too much for me, but he quoted what seemed a very reasonable price for the other, and I was interested although I still wasn't convinced that it was a Rumely Do All. My wife still maintained she had seen a picture of it in that new book we'd gotten the day before, so when we got home the first thing we did was to get the book out. Would you believe it, there it was right on Page One a picture of the tractor we'd found that day, along with a description which read, 'Many old tractor enthusiasts are familiar with the Rumely Do All tractor, but few have seen this tractor called the non-convertible Do All.'

Of course, I had to apologize to my wife she was right all along. She does have a good eye for old iron. A tricycle model, non-convertible Rumely Do All. I had never heard of one, much less seen one, and suddenly I had a chance to own one. What a curious coincidence to receive a publication in the mail which would unknowingly help solve a minor mystery, and to receive it just one day before the story unfolded. Needless to say, I didn't hesitate to call the owner and tell him I would buy it.

I soon found myself digging for additional information about my latest find. I called 'The Do All Man,' Mr. James Keenan in Omaha, Nebraska, who owns several Rumely Do All tractors none of which are the tricycle model. (Mr. Keenan had an article in GEM, October 1987). I also called a couple of people who had classified ads in GEM relating to Rumely Do All. I received a little bit of information from all these folks. I'll tell you what I learned, then I'll ask you readers for more information.

What I know or at least, what I think I know:

It seems there weren't many tricycle style Do Alls built, but no one I've talked to knows just how many. Mr. Keenan sent me a copy of a letter which he had received from a Mr. Emerson Wertz of LaPorte, Indiana, who was employed by Advance-Rumely (and later A-C) between the years 1926 and 1970. Mr. Wertz states in his letter that in all the years he worked for the company, he never saw a tricycle model Do All.

He also says that Rumely painted the Do All gray, although Mr. Keenan notes from his conversations with others who also were employed by Advance-Rumely that some were painted blue or blue-gray, while others were painted 'whatever color they happened to have on hand.' My Do All has bits of what appears to be a battleship gray on the engine and other parts, but the belt pulley attachment, steering gear box, etc., have the remnants of what seems to be a lime green paint of the standard Brewster green used on the Oil Pulls.

Mr. Keenan states the serial numbers on his Do All tractors are stamped on the front-support casting below the radiator. I called a gentleman in Iowa who told me his Do All has the number stamped on top of the transmission housing, just ahead of the steering box. Both men told me the serial number would be a 3 or 4 digit number with a 'D' prefix. My Do All has the serial number stamped on a round, machined boss along the left side of the transmission housing close to the left turning brake. The serial number of my tractor is 629, but has no 'D' prefix.

I have seen two or three different serial number listings, and according to all of them my tractor was manufactured in 1928, but the brass tag on the Waukesha engine clearly says, 'Model XA282D, February 1929.' What I would like to know:

   Does anyone know how many Do All tractors of each variation were made?

   Is there a 'standard' color for the Do All?

   Is there a discrepancy in the serial number list(s)? Is mine a 1928 or a 1929? (I guess it could be argued that it doesn't really matter).

   Is reprint Do All literature available (owner's manuals, sales brochures, etc.) that show the narrow front model? The few examples I've seen don't even mention any Do All other than the cultivator model and the standard tread model.

Of course I'm going to restore the old Do All just as soon as I can find some badly needed parts! See the classified section of GEM if you can help me. Thanks, too, for any information you can provide. I'll answer each response.

(P.S.in 1993 I managed to buy the Twin City KT, too but that's another story)!