Our Neighbor's Rumely

Content Tools

6247 Euclid Cincinnati, Ohio 45236

I grew up with a Coleman tractor and my father's threshing ring on a farm near Coffeyville, Kansas. My job was to run the tractor. As you probably know the grain was brought to the thresher on 'hay wagons' piled high with carefully placed interlocking bundles. Careless placing led to losing part of the load while traversing the rough roads and crossing small creek beds.

Some fanners were justly respected for hauling a large and well shaped load. Others were resented as 'That loafer only hauls a shirt-tail sized load. We ought to make him haul two loads to our one, by God.'

'The wagons pulled up beside and parallel to the front end of the threshing machine. The driver then unloaded the bundles via pitchfork into the thresher. As you can imagine, the horses were normally a bit skittish as they were urged to pull up close to the whirring monster. They were always driven in with their heads away from the tractor.

Our neighbor, Harley, operated a similar adjacent ring but he used a Rumely tractor. Often when our tractor was shut down, I could hear its pleasant, melodious, tuba-like tones chuffing off in the distance. One day, maybe in 1936, we got news of an accident with Harley's outfit. I am still grateful that it didn't happen in our ring,

All was well and Slim had just finished unloading his hay-wagon. Sadly, as he drove the horses away from the belt side of the thresher, the near one swerved and switched his tail. The tail was caught in the belt as it passed over the thresher pulley and instantly the horse was tailless. He shrieked, kicked off his harness, and ran screaming away over the hill. When found, he was dead.

Sorry to end this so abruptly, but that is about all there is to this tale.

When my younger brother Charles read my Rumely report, he sent an addition which follows. I'm glad I wasn't operating the Rumely on the day he described. Dad would have had some very sincere comments to make about an operator who would allow this to happen. Charles says:

'Art, I can add a bit about the Rumely  tractor that snatched the horse's tail. Its last year was 1942. We were thrashing at Duscan Days. One team was followed by a young mule colt. This was frowned on by the wiser heads as colts sometimes got in the way. One day, this colt jumped the big drive belt which connected the Rumely to the thresher. The colt's back feet just caught the belt enough to flip it off. This did not hurt the colt but the belt wrapped around the Rumely pulley and held it and stripped out the teeth driving the pulley. That was the end of the Rumely. So in the end the horses had their revenge.

'The next winter Jack Hoggatt and I tore down the Rumely and sold it for scrap. Acme buried the big flywheel in the Acme Foundry junk yard and its location was very carefully marked on a map. Acme said it was much easier to reclaim flywheels than to make new ones. Later one of the hardest jobs I ever had was working at Acme breaking out and sanding new castings. The yard also had the great big flywheels from old Corliss engines scrapped out at the water works or the local refineries and power plants. Acme is long gone. Do you suppose that those flywheels are still there?'