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
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
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.