Rumely Exposition

At PAWNEE 1990

Oil pull

Lyman Knapp's bog Oil pull in her work clothes, pulling a threshing machine.

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Route 1 Nashville, Illinois 62263

I submit this report on the activities of the 1990 Pawnee Show, which were popular indeed. The featured Rumely Exposition was excellent. It was well attended by both numerous exhibitors and many members. Also attending was Mr. Paul Rumely from New York. He is indeed a 'chip off the old block,' as the expression goes, and is an enthusiastic, intelligent, well-educated man who appreciates our heritage, to which such a great deal was contributed by his Rumely family. He has a solid overall view of our hobby, and of the very important part that the Rumely Company played.

The Rumely subject is vast, and details must also be covered in other articles, to be sure. Those excellent Rumely steam engines and Advance Rumely steam engines, followed by surely the very best in tractors for many years, are not nearly as well known as they should be. Let's all contribute to what can be done to spread the word.

Lots of rain in Oklahoma nearly shut down activities the first day at Pawnee, and somewhat slowed them on the second day. This, plus the many activities of the Rumely Exposition, caused us to postpone the 'setting contest' to next year; but the drawbar pulls, the largely expanded threshing and the horsepower activities on the brake were all busy.

Before reporting on these activities, I turn to something that took place which was very good and touching to many of us. It certainly helped to make the many workers who put on a show feel good, and make it all seem worthwhile. I refer to a gentleman who kept his name anonymous when he handed in a poem he wrote that day at the show. I had the honor to read it to the crowds on the public address system during the parade. We share it with you:

A Day to Be a Boy

Running down the sandy road
Beside one of these wonder machines
Barefoot and hands in
Pockets of overall jeans.
The fire burning
The smell of coal
Whistling steam, the power burning
Deep in my soul
I thank all of you
For the joy
For the day, once again
To be a boy.

The Old Man

I feel confident you agree with me, that it is quite fitting, and makes us more fully realize the importance of preserving our heritage for all, while Father Time is thinning the ranks of those who carry it all in living memory.

The Rumely Oil Pulls at Pawnee were an active group! They were there in every size and model. The sound of their distinctive exhausts was everywhere and it was truly a sound and sight to behold. No doubt the Rumely design was excellent and most agree it may well have been the best of the kerosene tractors. As the operators adjusted the kerosene and water mixtures to fit the load, they performed with excellent results! The heavy thumping exhaust meant that at the pulley, or at the drawbar, the power was flowing out to do the job.

Oil Pulls surround Paul Rumely of New York, who has a big smile on his face, and his right arm around David Bennett and son. Paul is the great-grandson of M.Rumely.

Most of the Rumely Oil Pulls belted to the brake. It was indeed a pleasure for me to present to the two and sometimes three filled grandstands, and many standing around the area, how well the tractors performed. Most people in attendance had not been aware of how the operator adjusted the kerosene and water mixtures, and they were interested in how this would make the Oil Pulls perform so well.

As usual, on the brake we ran for a while at no load, and then for some time at part load. During these periods, the operators would adjust the proportion of kerosene and water to fit the load, as the tractor warmed up. Then, as we moved through the power curve to about rated load, the Oil Pulls would perform beautifully! Everyone present was aware that the Oil Pulls could not go from instant start at no load to full speed and full load in a snappy second or two, like the latest current high speed tractor engines that often are 'screaming banshees.' However, the Oil Pulls showed very important performance that the current high speed engines cannot match! I am speaking of the many widely known situations in which tractors work on varying loads at or near full rated power loadings, then encounter heavy overloads:

1) Working on the drawbar at full rated power when a hard clay spot or similar condition is encountered.

2) On the belt like a threshing machine being fed extra bundles plus possibly wet or crosswise bundles, or a combination of these.

3) A varying sawmill load.

On these type of loads, the Oil Pulls were seen to handle the over loads very well, even double loads for quite a time, before slowing a great deal! Modern high speed engines would quickly stall to a screeching halt under such conditions of being at full rated load and suddenly having that load doubled, or even increased by 50%. Only because of the multiple, many geared transmissions in modern tractors (particularly the convenient power shift transmissions), is it possible to accommodate the limitations of modern high speed engines in some of the new tractors.

The best representation of the Rumely line of steam engines, and actually one of the very best engines at Pawnee overall, was the Advance Rumely 18 owned and operated by Ed Larsen of Milan, Kansas. The engine is truly in excellent condition. This, plus Ed's interest in having the engine perform for the crowd, made it a pleasure for all to hear, to see, and to enjoy the way a good steam engine like this one can put on a show.

On the drawbar horsepower tests, many of the Oil Pulls, other tractors and steam engines, Lyman Knapp's big Oil Pull and the 18 Advance Rumely engine were put through their paces by Ed. Contrary to the old and accepted belief that the 18 HP (as in this case), means drawbar horsepower, Ed had the 18 pull several times and it did measure 33, 35.8, and 39.6.

The other makes at the show were there in full force too. It was a pleasure to see the cooperation between the tractor men and the steam men, as well as the close working relationship between the individuals in each group. This makes it all so much more fun, both for the exhibitors and for the spectators.

Ed Larsen's 18 Advance Rumely is the focus of attention as it performs in front of the grandstands making a HP curve. The brake crew is busy at the table checking the results. Once the figures are in, the operator shows the excellent governor action as the load is changed quickly.

In 1991 the Pawnee Show will make a major event of the threshing in front of several grandstands! The crew is picked and trained, and I have been told will be complete even to a blower tender and possibly one man as a straw stacker, like they used to have when the straw stack was to be shaped properly. In addition to all of this, I am told that an excellent Avery Under mounted belonging to Ivan Burns will be the main threshing engine. That will indeed be a treat and will put the ' icing on the cake.' Surely everyone (whether you like Averys or not), must agree that the Avery Under mounted has a truly beautiful exhaust, as that curved block valve gear does its job.

Also at Pawnee we will have the setting contest, the tractor starting contest, the drawbar horsepower tests, and the Prony brake tests, which will then be topped off by Chady Atteberry performing the famous Case Hill Climb event. With all of that, we know the Rumely Oil Pulls and steam engines and likely a Rumely 6 will be there in force again; word is that Paul Rumely himself will again be there. Need we say more? See you at Pawnee in 1991!