By Staff
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William C. Kuhl

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.

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