Horse-drawn Rumely portable steam engine pulls the seniority card.
Cover of an 1880 Rumely catalog Graham Sellers found at Auburn, Ind. The seals indicate an award bestowed on M. & J. Rumely by the Indiana State Board of Agriculture for “the best threshing machine in 1871.”
As he scrubbed off decades of grime from this 1880s-vintage portable Rumely steam engine (serial no. 1377), Graham Sellers was in for a surprise. “When I cleaned it up, there were three different shades of yellow on it,” he says. “Now it’s kind of painted up like a circus wagon. I sure didn’t ever think it would have yellow wheels.”
The Rumely horse-drawn portable steam engine. As shown here, the smokestack folds down for travel. The unit has 16 flues and its boiler is 24 inches in diameter.
A gauge bearing the Rumely name.
For Graham Sellers, restoration of his portable Rumely has capped off years of experience with steam engines and Rumely tractors. “I’m into it over my ears,” Graham admits. “Working on steam engines is a lot of work, but the fruits of your labor really show up.”