Rumely Oil Pulls

Content Tools

Prairie City, Iowa 50228

Price and Leo Brubaker of Prairie City, Iowa and Doyle Brubaker of Newton, Iowa began operating Rumely Oil Pulls at the age of 12 or 13. Our father, Earl, was a dealer for Advance Rumely Company, and when he traded for an Oil Pull it was our job to clean and paint it for resale. Earl had a contract with Jasper County, Iowa to drag 13 miles of dirt roads. This job was turned over to us three boys to do after school and on Saturdays. Our high school vacations were spent operating Oil Pulls, threshing and grading township roads in Jasper County.

In 1936, we entered into the farm equipment business with our father, who had an Allis Chalmers and New Idea contract at this time. This business was known as E. M. Brubaker and Sons, selling and servicing farm equipment from 1936 until 1971. While in this business, shortly after World War II, we came up with the idea of each one trying to obtain a different model heavy weight Rumely Oil Pull tractor, hoping some day to have the full line. At the 1978 Old Threshers Show, we displayed six of these tractors:

A 1917 Model E, 30-60, two cylinder, 10' bore and 12' stroke. This tractor weighs 26,000 pounds and was built to pull an 8 to 12 bottom plow. This tractor was purchased by Price Brubaker in Minnesota, where it had been used on a saw mill and threshing machine.

A 1915 Model F, 15-30, one cylinder, 10' bore and 12' stroke, weighing 10 tons, pulls a 4 to 6 bottom plow. This tractor was purchased by Earl Brubaker in 1921 at a sheriff foreclosure sale in Chapel, Nebraska. He drove it 50 miles to Haxton, Colorado where he used it to pull a threshing machine. He shipped it to Des Moines, Iowa in 1923, rebuilt the tractor and graded roads in Poweshiek Township in Jasper County for several years.

A 1921 Model G, 20-40, two cylinder, 8' bore and 10' stroke, weighs 6 tons and pulls 4 bottoms. This tractor was bought at Emporia, Kansas and had been used for farming. Present owner is Doyle Brubaker.

A 1918 Model H, 16-30, two cylinder, 7' bore and 8' stroke, weight 9,600 pounds. Sold new by Earl Brubaker in 1918 to a threshing company southeast of Prairie City, Iowa. Present owner is Price Brubaker.

A 1916 Model H, 14-28, two cylinder, 7' bore and 8' stroke, weighing 9,600 pounds and pulls 3 to 4 bottom plow. Bought in North Dakota in a basket by Doyle Brubaker, present owner.

A 1921 Model K, 12-20, two cylinder, 6' bore and 8' stroke, weighs 4,500 pounds and pulls 3 bottom plow. Bought in Wisconsin where it had been used to pull a corn sheller. Owner is Leo Brubaker.

We are still searching for a Model B to complete this heavy weight collection.

One of the questions most often asked is: 'Why are they called Oil Pulls?' The answer to this is; they use oil in the radiator instead of water for cooling. The oil pull cooling system automatically keeps the motor at the right temperature at all loads, warm for light loads, increasingly cooler for half load up to full load. The harder the oil pull works the cooler it runs. This is the main reason they were so successful as a kerosene burning tractor.

Dad Brubaker did tell many stories, one after another, about Rumely Oil Pulls. I'll try to tell a couple as I remember them. While dad was working as a serviceman for Rumely, he and another company man were sent to unload a new 30-60 from a railroad flat car. There was no dock, so dad and the man, who had bought the tractor, went to find railroad ties to build a ramp. While they were gone, the other company man, getting impatient, started the tractor to move it down to the end of the car. Unfortunately, the clutch stuck and backed it off the end of the car. Fortunately there was no damage to the tractor.

Another story is about the time dad drove the 15-30 ten-ton, one cylinder Oil Pull across the Platte River Bridge. The man helping would not ride on the tractor, but walked along behind. This fellow says some of the piling went down three inches and never came back up.

We expect to exhibit some of our Rumely Oil Pulls at the Mt. Pleasant shows in the future, and would be happy to hear from others who are interested in Oil Pulls.