R.R. 1, Danville, Iowa 52623
There has been much written lately about the merits of Case engines over other makes of engines. I would like to put in a few words about some other makes to show another point of view.
Case did in fact build more engines than all other companies and some would have you believe that the reason for this was their (Case) great design and superior materials. I have always believed that selling price was the biggest factor in Case engine sales. This is not to take anything away from their design, as I think it was basically good.
Then, as now, price was a big consideration when a person was buying a high dollar item. I wonder how many Case engines would have been sold if they were priced higher than other makes?
Much has been said about the high quality materials used in Case engines. Now, I am a machinist by trade and have done quite a bit of repair work on different makes of engines including Advance, Advance-Rumely, Gaar-Scott, Avery, Kitten, Russell, Case, and many others. I can safely say Case used no better materials than any other makes. In fact, our 110 Case here at Old Threshers in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, has a piece of laminated steel for a piston rod. When we were rebuilding this old girl a couple of years ago, I was going to take a right cut off the rod in the lathe to remove some pitting. The shaving off the rod started to break every half revolution causing some close inspection. This inspection revealed a crack clear through the rod the entire length. I was going to replace the rod with a new piece, but got to thinking that if it has run that way since 1910 when it was new, it should run here at the five-day reunion for the rest of its life. If this is the kind of 'high-grade' materials Case used in an important part such as the piston rod, I would hate to see what they used in the rest of the engines. If any of you doubt this, come to our show in 1987, look me up, and I will be glad to point this out to you.
My favorite engine has to be the Advance-Rumely Universal. Here is an engine that was built for a hard day's work. They (Advance-Rumely) were built with a rear mounted axle in wing sheets that made one of the most rugged setups in the business. I always call them a 'no-nonsense' engine. They are just about as rugged and strong an engine as was built. They do, however, have one draw back to all this strength: they are very heavy for their size.
Speaking of size, many people call the 9 x 11 Advance-Rumely a 22 HP. This is not really so. The 9 x 1122 HP size was a carry over from the old Advance Thresher Co. days. They listed their 22 HP engine as having a 9 x 11 cylinder. When the Advance-Rumely Universal came out, they listed a 20 HP and 22 HP engine up to 1917. After 1917, the 9 x 11 22 HP engine was re-rated as a 20 HP. Also, after 1917, Advance-Rumely only built three sizes of engines: 18 HP, 9 x 10 cylinder; 20 HP, 9 x 11 cylinder; 25 HP, 10 x 12 cylinder. Since most of the so called 22 HP engines were built after 1917, they are actually 20 HP engines. I own 20 HP engine, serial #15306 built in 1923. I have owned this engine for just over a year, and we have her all restored (except for the new canopy). She did her part on the fan and the plow at the 1986 Old Threshers Reunion.
The 25 HP Advance-Rumely is a real brute of an engine. I am told the company only built 40 of these engines of which there are only 2 or 3 left. Maybe someone could shed more light on this.
The only 25 HP I have been around belongs to Bob Snow of Palmyra, Missouri. This engine is built super strong for a 25 HP and I don't believe you could tear one of them up.
Of all of the engines that have been praised and condemned, the little side mount Advance was a favorite of just about everyone. These engines were just about ideal for belt work as they were short and easy to get around with. Also, you could fire them from the ground when threshing or in the sawmill. I have a 16 HP Advance #8314 built in 1904 that I have owned for almost 15 years. It went into the shop this year for a complete overhaul after we broke the counter shaft in her before the Old Threshers Reunion last year. She has done a lot of work in her life, so I decided we would tear her down to the ground and start over. Come by the show and see her in a couple of years; she should be a beauty once more.
Almost all engines were built of good material and would do the job they were intended to do if given reasonable care. Some engines were designed to be used for belt work and some were for draw bar work. Some engines, such as the Kitten, were real good designs for the country in which- they were intended to work; but were not built for ideal use from coast to coast, I guess this is what gets to me the most when one person or other states that Case, Avery, or what-have-you was the ideal engine in every area. There simply isn't one ideal engine for every situation. As much as I think of Advance-Rumely, I would hate to take one of these heavy engines through swampy country. . .you might disappear!
As long as there are engines, there are going to be arguments as to which one is better than the rest. I hope others will write their opinions in the future because things like this make the Album more interesting. This sort of thing shows that the hobby is alive and well.
Maybe next time, I can write and explain all the things that could be improved on a Case, but that is another story and would take up too much room here. To write a story about the things wrong with a Reeves would take a truck load of paper. Hope to see some of you at Mount Pleasant in 1987. The dates are September 3-7.