Rumely Tractor Postcards
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Mass production of the OilPull began in 1910. Subsequent crop failures, drought and an agricultural recession stretched Rumely to the limits; the family filed for bankruptcy and lost control of the business in 1915. Reorganized as Advance-Rumely Thresher Co., the company continued to improve its tractor line, added a farm truck to the line and, realizing the threshing machine was outdated, introduced the Rumely combine harvester in 1925.
Financial problems arose again during the Great Depression. In 1931 Rumely was purchased by Allis-Chalmers Co. and was renamed Advance-Rumely Corp. That company was dissolved in 1935.
Tractor postcards as an early marketing tool
In the 1920s and ’30s, every tractor manufacturer knew the value of the postcard. It only cost a penny to mail a card. Cards were provided to dealers, who sent them to potential customers. In the era before TV and radio existed, postcards were an effective inducement. When a card arrived in the mailbox, it was like a special invitation to come to town and see Rumely’s new product line.
Rumely postcards are not the easiest to find. Allis cards, on the other hand, are widely available. Cards range in price from $5 to $100, depending on subject matter, condition and rarity. Don’t be afraid to ask for a better price, as most dealers like to haggle. Good luck and good hunting! FC
John Cole is a postcard collector/dealer from Minnesota with some 80,000 cards in his collection.
Read more about Postcards From the Farm, the beautiful pictures or drawings on cards in A Brief History of the American Postcard and real photograph postcards in Picturing the Past: Collecting Real Photo Postcards.
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