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1927 Advance-Rumely OilPull

Longest Rumely restoration

| October/November 2004

  • 15-25 Rumely Model L

  • 15-25 Rumely Model L
    Introduced in 1924, the Model L was part of Rumely's 'Lightweight' tractor series. The Model L followed standard OilPull practice, using an oil-cooled, horizontal two-cylinder engine. A view from the operator's seat.
  • Richard and the restored 15-25
    Richard and the restored 15-25, which he likes to refer to as simply 'ROP.'
  • Richard and ROP
    Richard and ROP after getting it running, but still years away from final restoration.

  • 15-25 Rumely Model L
  • 15-25 Rumely Model L
  • Richard and the restored 15-25
  • Richard and ROP

In 1949, I saw this very rough 1927 Advance-Rumely 15-25 OilPull for the first time. It belonged to a fellow I knew, and he had it set up in a field cutting firewood. 'I bought it from Wright Township (Pa.) for $50,' he told me, and it had been stored in a barn for at least 12 years. I didn't collect engines or tractors at this time, but I took a liking to the rusty old Rumely.

The years passed, and I got married and had a family. In about 1963, we were visiting the Lancaster, Pa., area and camped at a place called Rommers Retreat. Waking up the next morning, I heard the sounds of a steam whistle and some mechanical noise. I wanted to see what the noise was all about, and all I had to do was cross the road to arrive at the Rough and Tumble show grounds in Kinzer, Pa. After Rough and Tumble, I had to have a hit-and-miss engine, and two days later I found a 4 HP International Harvester Famous. I didn't know much about hit-and-miss engines and I had a lot to learn, but two weeks later I had it running.

More years rolled by, and I started thinking about the Rumely. Where was it, I wondered? I talked to many people who might have seen it, and finally one person told me they thought it might be in White Haven, Pa., not far from my home.

In 1971 I finally found 'ROP,' as I call it, sitting just a 1/4-mile off Route 437 in an old cornfield, overgrown with brush and small trees.

I found ROP's owner, but he was not so quick to sell. After 1-1/2 years of visiting him about the ROP he said, 'You want this tractor very badly, so when I am ready I will sell it to you.' Three months later he called me and said he was ready. I asked how much, and he said a fair price would be okay -$1,500!

Well, I had a lot to learn now. A friend who helped me bring ROP home said, 'What are you going to do with this junk?' When I got ROP home my wife and neighbors couldn't believe I was going to fix this thing.


Gas Engine Magazine A_M 16Gas Engine Magazine is your best source for tractor and stationary gas engine information.  Subscribe and connect with more than 23,000 other gas engine collectors and build your knowledge, share your passion and search for parts, in the publication written by and for gas engine enthusiasts! Gas Engine Magazine brings you: restoration stories, company histories, and technical advice. Plus our Flywheel Forum column helps answer your engine inquiries!

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