The Full Line


| December 2001



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Though 60-year-old John Peternell of Albany, Minn., has all 19 of the types of Rumely OilPull tractors ever made, they weren't his first tractors.

He fell in love with old iron while still in high school in the 1950s. His first old tractor was a Hart-Parr that he bought at a machinery auction in Brandon, S.D. 'Two farmers had brought it in to sell at a monthly consignment sale, and before the sale I asked them if they would sell it. It was a really nice tractor with very little wear and new parts with it. They said if I wanted to settle with the clerk and pay $300, that was okay with them. So I did.'

Before the day was over, another implement dealer found out about the pre-sale, and was upset because he had waited all day long for the Hart-Parr to be sold. He offered John $600 for it that day, but John didn't sell. But six months later, the same guy offered him $1,800 for it, so he sold it. 'You have to remember this was in the 1950s, so that was a lot of money. My dad thought it was the smartest thing I ever did,' John says with a laugh.

His second tractor was a Waterloo Boy, 'which was really my first antique tractor, since I kept it.' But his third one - a Rumely OilPull - started him on the road to collecting old iron. 'That was a 16-30 Rumely OilPull. But I don't have that one anymore, and since then I've had a couple of better ones. The one I have now came out of a museum, and still has its original decals.'

The 16-30 was one of the two Rumely OilPulls John had when he and his wife Lou Ann started the Albany Pioneer Days in 1975. 'I always thought the OilPulls were a fascinating tractor. I don't believe they were necessarily the very best big tractor, but the company sold quite a number of them. They burned kerosene quite efficiently, probably better than a lot of other ones. It's just like a lot of other things. You kind of take a liking to one or the other, and you kind of stay with it.'

The 16-30 Rumely OilPull John bought during the 1960s but then his collecting sped up a bit. 'I didn't plan on collecting them all.' But then he started making friends with other old Rumely collectors, and collecting some of the Rumelys, and when he discovered he had already bought some of the most difficult OilPulls to find, 'I thought maybe I could find the rest of the set.' The Rumelys were offered in heavyweight models, like the 30-60 OilPull, or the lightweight models, like the 30-50, which is one of the most difficult of all of them to find. Other difficult OilPulls to find include the 25-45 and 30-50 models. Though there are a number of distinctions between the lightweights and the heavyweights, the easiest to see is the gearing: heavyweights have all open gears, and the lightweights all have gears running in oil.