Our Neighbor’s Rumely

By Staff

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

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

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?’

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