The Engine that Could

Remembering a 16 HP Single-clyinder Advance-Rumely


| March 2007



TedKnack1.jpg

Ted Knack on the Advance-Rumely at Bill Vouk’s threshing show in St. Stephen, Minn., in September 1991. The engine is pulling a wing feed separator.

This story is about a 1919 Advance-Rumely Universal 16 HP steam traction engine that I became involved with in the mid-1970s. It all started when Lehart Fredrich took his 50 HP Case steam engine to the Rice Lake, Wis., antique show. I ran it on the sawmill for him. Since we worked the show, we were invited to the annual banquet, where a conversation about an Advance steam engine being for sale came up.

I found out a school teacher was selling the engine for another fellow who owned it. At this time my boss, Jim Koenig, was interested in buying a steam engine, so I got the teacher's name and where he could be reached.

We made arrangements to look at the Advance, and after looking it over closely, Jim decided to buy the Advance with encouragement from me. (It's fun to spend someone else's money!)

Home Again, Home Again

Now we had the task of getting the Advance home to Cottage Grove, Minn. We lined up a trucker with a lowboy trailer to haul the engine the day after Thanksgiving. It snowed Thanksgiving Day. We left at 5:30 in the morning with 180 miles to go.

We arrived where the Advance engine was located and after looking over how we could get it loaded, we decided it was going to be a long day. The engine sat parallel to the road. The trailer didn't have ramps, so we had to move the engine back and turn right to line up to the trailer. Then we backed the trailer into the ditch far enough to get it level with the back of the ditch.

I took the guy's Lindemann crawler and dug the back of the ditch out to get the trailer in far enough to get the engine onto the trailer - boy, it was a cold job. Now we had to get the engine up on the trailer, but I couldn't get the steering wheel to turn because it was filled with ice.