| January/February 1956

  • Rumely Engine
    Model Advance Rumely engine and thresher built by William B. Benda, R. D. 2, Milan, Illinois.
  • Advance Rumely Outfit
    Another view of Mr. Benda's Model Advance Rumely outfit.

  • Rumely Engine
  • Advance Rumely Outfit

R. D. 2, Milan, Illinois

I am 56 years old and in my day have operated different makes of engines and threshers. At the age of 14 I became a tank wagon man for my father, and my brother Frank, age 17, had been promoted to separator man. At the age of 17 I too took over the job of separator man and brother Harry went on the water wagon. My father's brother, Harry and I operated this rig for 5 years.

In 1922, after threshing for 48 years, my father retired and sold his rig, consisting of 16 hp. Advance engine, 33x54 Port Huron rusher, to Harry and myself. We continued with this same rig until 1928 then the 'Coffee Grinders' started coming in and the run was reduced from 50 to 52 days to 14 jobs. It could be plainly seen that they would be short of help and other work was not even worth pulling the rig out of the shed, so we sold out the company.

My father had started to thresh when he came to this country using 12 horses Dingee Power and an Aultman Taylor hand fed separator. Later he purchased an 8 hp. steam J. i. Case, and later the self-steering came along. In 1904 he purchased a 10 hp. Advance and a new 32x56 Advance separator. In 1915 he traded for a new rig with 16hp. Advance and a new 32x54 Port Huron Rusher. Father was a big operator, farmed 400 acres at one time and had a Port Huron sawmill, Gaar Scott clover huller, Port Huron shredder and a corn sheller, buzz saw with 8hp. Waterloo Boy gas engine for custom work, Rumley 12 bottom plows which he pulled with his 16hp. Advance steamer. When we sold the rig, I realized steam was fast disappearing so in 1930 I started building a miniature which is a duplicate of Advance Rumley engine and separator. A couple of pictures of it are enclosed. Here is the size of the engine: boiler is 6x28 with twelve ' flues, cylinder is 2' stroke, 1' bore. The front wheels 1 face, six inches high with three-sixteenth inch spokes. Rear drive wheels 12' high with 4' face, five-sixteenth inch spokes. The length overall is 34 inches.

Have pulled load of 1800 pounds on a dirt road on an iron wheeled trailer. I am standing near the engine in my overalls. All parts of the engine were made from scrap, some parts I had to make wood patterns, cast them and then machine to scale using my own prints. Only parts I had to purchase were lubricator, injector and steam gauge. All the rest was made up from scrap. The boiler tests to 125 pounds pressure and the separator has all the working parts of the larger thresher. I have devoted practically all my spare time to building this outfit, starting in 1930 and completing it in 1937.

I am hoping to correct Mr. Nelson of Hawley, Minnesota. He had three small steamers in the Jan-Feb. issue of IRON-MEN ALBUM. He states he has a 65 Case, 20 Huber and Advance 22 hp. Now Mr. Nelson, Advance never did build a 22hp. Advance side mounted, but they did build 22hp. Advance Rumley universal rear mounted engine. By the looks of the picture, model, he has a 14 or 16hp. straw burner Advance.


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