Rumely Exposition

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Lyman Knapp's bog Oil pull in her work clothes, pulling a threshing machine.
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Lyman Knapp's big Oil Pull in the drawbar during HP testing. It is dragging a Cat 30.
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Ed Larsen's 18 Advance Rumely at the other end of the belt around the prony brake belt wheel.

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

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

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

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!

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