Farm Collector

A DEFENSE OF Advance Thresher Company

By Staff

A reprint of an article that appeared in September/October 1956
IMA, written by Marcus Leonard of Salina, Kansas, reprinted at the
request of James W. Russell, 125 E 600th Avenue, Oblong, Illinois

Much has been written, which confounded Advance Thresher Company
with the M. Rumely Company organized by Dr. Rumely, the Rumely
Products Company and the Advance-Rumely Company.

Advance Thresher Company was one of the most highly rated
thresher companies, because Advance machinery was popular and the
company had been under good management. Dr. Rumely, for those
reasons, paid what was thought to be a prohibitive price for
Advance Thresher Company.

Advance Thresher Company has been unknown to the business world,
since December 22, 1911. The men who founded that company and the
ones under whose management it prospered and grew to be one of the
greatest thresher companies, have passed on, leaving but a few of
the employees to defend the good name of the ‘Grand Old

For reasons known only to the Maker of the universe, I have been
permitted to remain and having been employed by Advance Thresher
Company nine years, knowing that company as but few now living knew
it, I have come to defend Advance Thresher Company against
misstatements which have connected that company with the M. Rumely
Company organized by Dr. Rumely and all other later Rumely

In my defense, I have written about the 30-60 Oil Pull, because
the development of that tractor, brought about the expansion of M.
Rumely Company and about Dr. Rumely, who conceived the plan of
expansion and successfully put it into operation.

I have been blessed with a good memory and drawn from it but it
is not infallible. Highly reliable information was obtained from
the Farm Implement News, Secretary of State of Indiana and Court
House records.

M. Rumely Company had developed and so thoroughly tested the
30-60 Oil Pull by 1910, it was considered a huge success. Great
possibilities were seen for it, because of the low operating cost
as compared to the steam engine. That it would replace the steam
engine, as a threshing power, was a foregone conclusion, which
would create a great demand for tractors and increase the demand
for separators and other machinery.

M. Rumely Company had built about 6,000 engines and 8,000
separators, when it quit business in December 1911, Advance
Thresher Company had built 22,000 separators from 1880 and 13,000
engines from 1884 until December 1911 and Gaar Scott & Company,
an older company, had built about 16,000 engines and 24,000
separators, until the same time.

M. Rumely Company considered every farmer a potential buyer of a
tractor and with the greatly increased demand for tractors and
other machinery, it would have been impossible to supply the
anticipated demand. The only way to satisfy the demand would be to
increase production and, to do that, it would be necessary to
increase the capacity of the factory, which would require greater

The Rumely family was devout Catholic. In many families of that
faith, one son is prepared for priesthood. It had been the most
ardent hopes of Mrs. Meinard Rumely, the grandmother, that one of
their sons enter priesthood but all of them chose business careers
and were highly successful.

Edward Rumely, grandson of Meinard Rumely, founder of M. Rumely
Company, who was considered one of the great men in the threshing
machine industry, was to be prepared for the priesthood.

Edward Rumely went to one of the great universities of Europe to
finish his work, returned with a doctor’s degree and a dream of
high finance but evidently with something he had not been taught
and a trait he had not inherited from the Rumely family. ‘Dr.
Rumely married a woman of a different faith,’ lost his interest
in the saving of men’s souls, gained control of M. Rumely
Company, and proceeded with his vast plan of expansion. Dr. Rumely
considered time important. His plan was to buy other companies. The
employees would be trained, sales organizations complete and
factories in production. The other companies could build the
machinery to satisfy the increased demand, some of the business of
the other companies would go with them and their prestige would be
an asset. The ultimate plan was to build nothing but Rumely

Dr. Rumely could have purchased companies, other than Advance
Thresher Company and Gaar-Scott & Company, at much lower prices
but it was not price with him. Both factories were fairly modern
and in good condition. Both companies had enjoyed good business,
were in good financial condition, their machinery was fairly
popular and their prestige great.

It was reported neither Advance Thresher Company nor Gaar-Scott
& Company had been for sale and the prices were quoted so high,
they did not think Dr. Rumely could or would buy them, but price
did not stop him and he bought both. Advance Thresher Company stock
sold at 282 and it was reported Gaar-Scott & Company stock sold
at 252.

Others than Dr. Rumely had attempted to consolidate thresher
companies and failed, and it was not thought he would succeed, but
regardless of what since has happened, it cannot obscure the fact
that Dr. Rumely accomplished the almost unbelievable.

Quote from the Farm Implement News of Chicago, ‘In our
December 11, 1911 issue, we reported, M. Rumely Company, LaPorte,
Indiana had increased its capital to $22,000,000 and had purchased
the Advance Thresher Company and the Gaar-Scott & Company.’
The combined earnings of the three companies for the four previous
years were stated to be $910,000.

The transaction involved Advance Thresher Company, Gaar-Scott
& Company, and M. Rumely Company and was a sale, as reported by
the Farm Implement News. Statements the three companies or any
others, merged to form Rumely Products Company or M. Rumely,
designated from here, the Dr. Rumely Company, were not correct.
Rumely Products Company was incorporated later and Advance-Rumely
Company was not incorporated until December 14, 1915, making it
impossible for those companies to have been a part of the
transaction. The Dr. Rumely Company bought the Northwest Thresher
Company early in 1912.

‘A merger is the combining of the interests of two or more
corporations, under one of them, as a head.’ It is safe to
assume, had Gaar-Scott & Company and Advance Thresher Company
have had anything to do with the management of the Dr. Rumely
Company, and they would have had, had it been a merger, the company
would not have been in bankruptcy in three years.

It was part of the agreement that the Dr. Rumely Company would
take over the employees of the three companies, employed by them,
at the time the transaction was completed, provided the employee
wished to remain.

The employees of the three companies were called to their
branches. I was at the Kansas City Branch of the Advance Thresher
Company, December 22, 1911 and about 4:00 p.m., hundreds of others
and I, received telegrams which informed us, the Dr. Rumely Company
with a capital of $22,500,000 had taken over and at that moment,
the sun set forever on the Meinard Rumely Company, the friendly
Gaar-Scott & Company and the grand old Advance Thresher

The Dr. Rumely Company painted a glowing picture for the future
of what then was the largest farm implement company. A few of the
former employees of the old companies quit. Their judgments proved
the better.

I sold Advance machinery on my old Block from December 22, 1911
until July 4, 19×2, for that company, for which I ever since have
been sorry. On July 4, 1912, that great day, I stepped into the
telegraph office at Hays, Kansas and wired my resignation. Whatever
the intentions of that company may have been, it did not finish the

The Dr. Rumely Company was not thrown into bankruptcy later by
misdeeds of mine. Included in the Advance machinery I sold, were
two Advance 21 HP compound rear mounted engines, numbers 13222 and

The Dr. Rumely Company, when it took over at Kansas City,
removed none of the managers but appointed the Gaar-Scott &
Company manager over the Advance Thresher Company manager and the
M. Rumely Company manager. Each had been with his company many

No ‘star gazer’ was needed to predict the future. The
selling season at the Kansas City branch was over when I went there
to check out. The employees taken over had served their purpose,
were not needed, and the company could employ men of its own
choosing for 1913. I was with my former Advance Thresher Company
manager a few minutes at the branch. We had not been close during
the six years I had worked under him but I thought I saw what was
coming, felt sorry for him, told him bluntly if he didn’t get
out he would be let out. He looked up at me and said in his soft
voice, ‘Do you think so?’ I said yes and within a short
time the managers of the Advance and Rumely lines went, with
hundreds of others.

The $22,500,000 Dr. Rumely Company built the Rumely machinery
from December 22, 1911 until January 19, 1915.

M. Rumely nameplates were put on smokeboxes of the Advance
engines, on hand, when taken over by the Dr. Rumely Company. The
Henry Bakehouse Advance 16 HP engine No. 13095, exhibited at Mt.
Pleasant in 1954, had the name-plate. Howard Blenkenforth, Lyn-den,
Washington, has Advance 12 HP engine No. 13791. M. Rumely is cast
on the smokebox ring, which indicates the engine was built by the
Dr. Rumely Company. Both engines, when new, were sold by Rumely
Products Company.

Quote from a report of the Secretary of State of Indiana, dated
January 24, 1956: ‘Rumely Products Company–a New York
corporation, admitted to do business in this State February 29,
1912.’ Rumely Products Company was the selling company for the
products built by the Dr. Rumely Company.

Chattel mortgages covering the machinery built by the Dr. Rumely
Company were recorded under the name of the Rumely Products Company
and the first chattel mortgage for that company was filed in Saline
County, Kansas, July 1, 1912, and it was –J. J. Hudson to Rumely
Products Company–one Rumely Ideal 40-64 separator No. 9348. The
second mortgage recorded was on July 5, 1912 and read W. A. Johnson
to Rumely Products Company–one Advance 21 HP engine No. 13224.
Those recorded mortgages are indisputable evidence that company did
business in Saline County, Kansas at that time and indicated it was
doing business at other places.

The buyer of a Nichols & Shepard, an Avery, a Gaar-Scott, an
Advance, or a Rumely engine, prior to 1912, bought it from the
company that built it and not from a financially weak company
selling it.

The Dr. Rumely Company built three good lines of machinery and
under good management, either of them, probably would have lived
until the end of the thresher business but Dr. Rumely was not a
Meinard Rumely nor any of the other men under whose guidance those
companies prospered and became great.

Avery, Wood Bros., M. Rumely, Aultman-Taylor, Nichols &
Shepard, Russell, Frick, Geiser, Gaar-Scott and others were good
companies, because the officials were honorable and worthy of any
man’s confidence. None of those men would have suffered in
comparison with A. W. Wright, S.O. Bush, B. F. Skinner, and M.
Lefever of the Advance Thresher Company but all would have
suffered, when compared with Dr. Rumely. The Dr. Rumely Company
lived three years, 27 days, was what he made it and was less worthy
than the least worthy, in the list.

It was reported Morgan & Company received $2,000,000 for
financing the transaction and the Dr. Rumely Company received its
first financial reverse when Wm. N. Rumely and a sister refused to
go with the company, demanded and were paid $2,000,000 for their

It probably was not longer than two years after the organization
of the Dr. Rumely Company, that Dr. Rumely was replaced by Mr. Funk
of the International Harvester Company, but the Dr. Rumely Company
was headed for a receivership and Mr. Funk did not prevent its
going there.

Quote from the Farm Implement News, under the date of January
10, 1956: ‘The M. Rumely Company was thrown into bankruptcy
January 19, 1915 and a federal judge of Indianapolis appointed
Finley P. Mount, an attorney, as receiver, who had liquidated the
Dr. Rumely Company December 14, 1915. Advance Thresher Company was
in no way a part of that company. Advance Thresher Company
stockholders may have invested in the Dr. Rumely Company and if
they did, their investments, with others, were washed away in that
whirlpool of corruption.

Dr. Rumely possessed a brilliant mind but evidently a great
weakness. A strong man would not have done so great a wrong and for
that reason, the world, probably, should look with compassion upon

Quote from the Secretary of State of Indiana, dated January 24,
1956: ‘Advance-Rumely Company, an Indiana corporation,
incorporated December 14, 1915. ‘Quote from the December 16 and
23, 1015 issues of the Farm Implement News-. ‘Newly organized
Advance-Rumely Company bought all the assets of M. Rumely Company
and Rumely Products Company.

The capitalization of the Dr. Rumely Company shrunk from
$22,500,000 to about $2,500,000 in the Advance-Rumely Company. The
name was changed and the reorganization to Advance-Rumely Company
for the benefit received from the good name of Advance Thresher
Company and for no other reason.

Advance-Rumely Company built thousands of small Oil Pull
tractors and Rumely separators. That company designed and built the
Advance-Rumely engine with the wing sheet boiler. M. R. Voorhees,
manager for Advance-Rumely Company at Kansas City, when the engine
was built said, ‘The Marsh reverse gear was adopted because the
engine, when equipped with it, was more economical and powerful,
than when tested with any of the other seven types of reverse
gears.’ Advance-Rumely Company bought and took over
Aultman-Taylor about March 1, 1924.

Advance-Rumely Company recorded its first chattel mortgage in
Saline County, Kansas, July 15, 1916, and it was Wm. Stahl to
Advance-Rumely Company–one Rumely 20 HP engine. That company
recorded a chattel mortgage in Saline County, Kansas July 5, 1918,
which read, Charles L. Richards to Advance-Rumely Company–one
Gaar-Scott 32 HP engine No. 16221. That engine was new and shipped
from Canada. It evidently had been built by Gaar-Scott &
Company and carried through the life of M. Rumely and into the time
of Advance-Rumely Company. That was a good threshing engine. The
buyer of that engine lives in Saline County, Kansas.

Men write and speak of Advance and Advance-Rumely engines, as
they do Advance Thresher Company and Advance-Rumely. They buy
Advance engines, thinking they are Advance-Rumely engines, because
Advance-Rumely transfers are on the jacket. ‘A leopard does not
change its spots’ and the exhaust of no other make of an engine
ever built, would snap, under a heavy load, as an Advance simple
would snap even though the name of Advance-Rumely, in large
letters, was on the jacket of the boiler.

The misstatements, evidently, were made by those who possess but
little knowledge of Advance Thresher Company and were not well
informed when the several Rumely companies lived and the
relationship of one of them to the other companies. The statements
were unfair to Advance Thresher Company and misleading to the
thousands who read them. Statements in ‘A Defense of Advance
Thresher Company’, concerning that company, the Dr. Rumely
Company, Rumely Products Company, and Advance-Rumely Company, are
not 75% wrong but should statements be proved misstatements, I
will, ‘without equivocation and mental reservation’ correct

It probably made little difference to many readers of the ALBUM,
whether the transaction in which the ownership of the Advance
Thresher Company and the Gaar-Scott & Company was acquired, was
a sale or a merger, the date 1911 or 1915, the Dr. Rumely Company
or the Rumely Products Company built the Rumely machinery, but to
those to whom it made a difference the records submitted are
indisputable evidence that Gaar-Scott, Rumely and Advance engines
and separators were recorded under those names, when sold by either
Rumely Products Company or Advance-Rumely Company, that Advance
Thresher Company and Gaar-Scott & Company sold to M. Rumely in
December, 1911, that Rumely Products Company was admitted to do
business in Indiana February 29, 1912, and that Advance-Rumely
Company was incorporated December 14, 1915.

Advance Thresher Company’s selling in December 1911 made it
impossible for that company to have been linked to or connected
with either of those companies and for the same reason, none of the
misdeeds of the Dr. Rumely Company should be charged to Advance
Thresher Company, which was too worthy to be compared with the Dr.
Rumely Company.

  • Published on Nov 1, 1998
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