THE RUMELY THAT SCARED THE CALF AND REFUSED TO RAISE STEAM PRESSURE

article image

1305 Scottsdale Drive,Champaign, Illinois

My father and family lived on a farm in Franklin County,
Illinois until the time of his death in 1921. A number of farmers
including my father, that lived in that vicinity owned silos that
were to be filled every year.

Prior to 1925 nearly all belt work and some draw bar work was
done with steam due to the fact that there were no combustion
engines in the area. A number of the silo owners had purchased an
M. Rumely 11 Hp. single simple along with a paper ensliage cutter
to fill their silos each year. This Rumely had been rebuilt by
Keck-Gonnerman Company.

One evening in October 1917 the engineer of the Rumely drove
this Engine to our farm and parked it in the barnyard to fill our
silo with. A rainy season followed shortly after the Engine was
brought to our place, therefore silo filling operations were
discontinued for about a week.

I was about ten years of age at the time and being a steam fan I
could not retire for the evening until I made some inspection of
the Rumely. After finishing the evening meal I proceeded to the
barnyard to pass my inspection of the iron machine. The moon was
rather bright that evening and objects could be seen a fairly long
distance.

My father had a yearling jersey calf that was roaming around the
barn and other buildings and Mr. calf decided that some strange
monster had come to the barnyard that he was not familiar with.

I was seated on the platform of the Engine and saw the calf
slowly coming toward the object that he was going to look over. The
calf seemed to be rather skeptical about the strange thing that had
invaded his barnyard and took possession, but he was determined to
find out what this thing was all about. I could look through the
spokes of the right rear wheel and see Mr. calf slowly approach
this strange thing that smoke was coming out of. I remained very
quiet until the calf got close enough to place his nose on the rear
wheel and smell of the that strange object, then I leaned forward
and gave one short blast with the whistle.

Needless to say the yearling jersey did not have any more time
to spend with this thing. He wheeled on his rear feet and turned in
the opposite direction and ran as fast as any yearling could
possibly go, and when he got to the other side of the barnyard he
was going so fast that he almost ran through the fence before he
could get stopped. The yearling decided that this piece of Iron was
to dangerous for him to take any chances with.

After about a weeks delay the fields were dry enough to get corn
to the silo and it was decided to begin filling the silo one
afternoon. My father thought he would steam the boiler in the
forenoon and thus save time when they were ready to start filling
after lunch. He built a fire in the firebox and thought it would
burn and refuel the fire a little in the morning. He returned in a
hour or so only to learn that the steam gauge had not raised any at
all. He put some more fuel on the fire and left the draft open,
then came back in another hour and noticed that the fire was
burning very slowly, but the steam gauge was still at zero.

He stirred the fire with the poker and put some more fuel on the
fire and thought surely it will raise steam this time. He went
about his work and returned to the Engine about a half hour later
only to learn that the little Rumely would not raise steam. At this
point my father was puzzled as to what to do to raise steam. In
desperation he called one of his neighbors who had operated steam
engines for years and asked him to see if he could learn what was
wrong with that Rumely. After the neighbor arrived he opened the
firebox door and discovered that there was a large bed of ashes and
the grates needed shaking down. The neighbour shook the grates
thoroughly and put a large quantity of fuel on the fire and in a
very short time the steam gauge begin to show pressure. In a few
minutes the blower was turned on and the pressure started to raise
fast. It was quite a joke on my father. He forgot to shake the
ashes down before starting a fire.

Farm Collector Magazine
Farm Collector Magazine
Dedicated to the Preservation of Vintage Farm Equipment