The Bellinger Brothers' 18 HP Advance-Rumely

| March/April 1999

In the spring of 1994, I was walking in Randy Schwerin's cow barn when he asked me if I would be interested in an Advance-Rumely steam engine. Given my predictable response, he began to tell me more. It seems our friend Richard Vagts had decided to sell his 18 horse Advance Rumely. Randy had first chance at it and declined, so we were up next. Richard didn't want to advertise it until he had asked us if we were interested, because he liked the way we took care of our engines and it would also stay in the state.

A couple of weeks later, we all loaded up and went to visit Richard at his home in Eldorado. We were out in the shed behind his home where he kept his pride and joy. He even had a hole cut in the roof with a stove pipe that ran down to the smoke stack so he could fire up in the shed. We talked for a while and proceeded to climb all over it. I was familiar with the engine but had never given it an inspection as if to buy it. I do remember my son Tyler, who was five at the time, climbing all over the top of the engine like he knew what he was looking for. He must have liked what he saw; as I was talking to Richard about how much he was asking for a price. Tyler yelled down, 'Just buy it, Dad, you know you've got a $100 bill in your pocket.' We all got a good laugh but, Richard thought he should have a little more than that!

My brother Tony and I decided we would buy the engine together. I had just bought my 16 Advance and a new house in the last three months, and another steam engine right away wasn't exactly in the cards. Then Richard decided he would like to show the engine one more year and enjoy it around his place for awhile. This worked out great for us, as Tony had also just bought a new home. We told him to enjoy it as long as he wanted and we would be ready whenever he was.

The following spring he gave me a call and said he was ready; he thought it was time. I told him we would come for it in a few weeks and if he ever had a need to run the engine he always knew where it would be.

When we went for the engine it was an exciting day for us, as all engine owners can relate to, but we could also sense the other side of the coin with Richard. He is a good man who had owned and loved this engine for 21 years.

Richard gave us a water wagon and a Baker fan, as he thought they should stay with the engine. This was a very pleasant surprise and much appreciated! He also took the time to give me the history of the engine as follows.