Rumely Collector’s News R 2, 12109 Mennonite Church Rd. Tremont, Illinois 61568
In 1931 the Advance-Rumely Company effectively closed its doors. Some 52 years later, the little town of Rushville, Indiana, saw what might just be the biggest gathering of Advance-Rumely and related machinery since then! The sheer size of Rumely Expo ’93 surprised everyone at the excellent Pioneer Engineers Club show at Rushville, including organizers!
The guests of honor included 45 major pieces of Rumely equipment. Incredibly, 38 OilPull tractors, from the giant 30-60 E through the lightweight models down to the nimble 12-20, stood in four long rows beside the big Rumely Expotent. ‘Boy, did ya see them OilPulls!?’ was a comment heard numerous times throughout the show! Many folks were astonished to see so many rare old tractors in one place. One fella marveled, ‘I didn’t think there’s that many left!’
A one-of-a-kind 14-24 Model L experimental model, forerunner to the 15 -25 L OilPull, was on display. This tractor holds the honor of being serial number 1! A Do-All, Rumely’s convertible cultivator tractor, sat beside a row of five immaculate Rumely ‘6’ tractors.
A real showpiece was a five bottom Rumely plow which was found in pieces buried in the ground with just enough sticking out to trip you on a walk though the barnyard. It now looks like it has just left the Rumely dealer’s showroom! Former Advance-Rumely employee Emerson Wertz helped on the plow’s restoration. He worked as an OilPull service man in the Aberdeen, South Dakota, branch. He drove the Rumely Do-All in the parade on Saturday. We were quite honored to have him there!
Numerous Advance-Rumely and Rumely steam engines were on the grounds for the show, along with a surprising number of Gaar-Scott and Company and Advance Thresher Company steam engines. The oldest Gaar-Scott engine known to exist, manufactured in 1865, was there, along with an ancient A. Gaar and Company engine (Gaar Scott’s predecessor). Aultman-Taylor steam and gas traction engines rounded out the grand display of machines that were taken under the wing of the Rumely Company. A special treat was a rare 15-30 Gas Pull tractor, originally manufactured by Northwest Thresher Company and marketed as the 20-40 Universal for a short time before it became a Rumely product.
Both Rumely and Advance-Rumely steam engines did duty on the sturdy 32×52′ Advance-Rumely steel separator. This machine was in top form and handled the bundles as well as it had in its heyday on the old threshing run.
A Rumely ensilage cutter and OilPull power unit completed the display around the tent, which was filled with an unimaginable array of Rumely memorabilia! A king’s ransom of rare watch fobs, models, pins, catalogs and photographs brought back memories and tantalized the collectors.
That evening, 128 people packed Miller’s Supper Club in Rushville to enjoy a delicious buffet supper and hear a fascinating trio of speakers. Jack Maple of Rushville shared memories of a visit to a Rumely dealership. What we all wouldn’t give for the chance to travel back in a time machine, snatch up a bushel-basket of literature and momentos, order a couple of tractors and head back home!
Dennis Rupert of Hillsdale, Michigan, reflected on growing up in a family surrounded by OilPulls. It’s obviously done Dennis a lot of good! Too bad more of our kids aren’t exposed to the values of our pioneer fathers instead of the lifestyles of the current hot ball-player or rock star.
Finally, Bill Rumely of New Palatine, Indiana, the great-great-grandson of Meinrad Rumely (founder of the M. Rumely Company), took a look at the Rumely family tree and told of recently discovering a love of the tractors that hold so dear a place in his roots. The highpoint of the evening came when the green and yellow Rumely Expo ’93 banner was auctioned to the highest bidder. After a heated contest, it sold for $260.00 and left for its new home in, appropriately, LaPorte, Indiana.
All in all, everyone agreed it was a giant step towards bringing this grand old company into the spotlight already shining on some of its former competitors. Rumely Expo ’94 is already scheduled for August 11-14 at the New York Steam Engine Show at Canandaigua, New York. The Rumely Expo series is presently promoted by a loose-knit steering committee, dedicated to pre-serving and promoting Rumely history through these Expos. If you plan to at-tend and bring a machine or exhibit, please contact Ron Miller, 12433 U.S. 6, Geneseo, Illinois 61254, phone 309-944-3156. More complete coverage, along with Expo videos and paraphernalia, is available through the host publication, Rumely Collector’s News Magazine, % Scott Thompson, 12109 Mennonite Church Road, Tremont, Illinois 61568, 309-925-3932.