The Advance-Rumely company began in 1848, when Meinrad Rumely emigrated to the U.S. and joined his brother, John, to run a blacksmith shop in LaPorte, Indiana. Meinrad later purchased the business from his brother and renamed the firm M. Rumely Company. Rumely initially served the railroad, but soon began designing and manufacturing agricultural equipment to serve the local farm industry.
After Meinrad died in 1904, his sons, William and Joseph, took
over and the company continued to flourish. In 1908 engineers John Secor and
William Higgins joined Rumely to design and build a line of internal-combustion
tractors. Their first prototype tractor, “Kerosene Annie”, was built in 1909
and led Rumely to become the first American tractor manufacturer to use
kerosene as a fuel.
The Rumely Oil Pull was the first tractor to use an oil cooling system, which kept the engine at a steady temperature regardless of the tractor’s load. The Oil Pull starts on gas but runs on kerosene, making it much lighter and easier to maneuver than its steam-driven predecessors. This tractor featured other upgrades as well including more cab space and automotive-style steering rather than fifth-wheel steering.
In spite of their success at the turn of the 20th Century, a downturn in the agriculture market in 1913, took a toll on the company and by 1915 Rumely had declared bankruptcy and was reorganized as Advance-Rumely. The Great Depression further impacted Advance-Rumely and they continued to struggle until being bought out by Allis-Chalmers in 1931. Allis-Chalmers discontinued the Rumely units immediately, using the LaPorte factory to produce its own line of tractors and threshers. Rumely remains a well-known and highly regarded tractor with collectors.
If you would like to see or purchase your very own Rumely, stop by The PAST Antiques Marketplace. Our 1922 Rumely Oil Pull is in excellent working condition and sure to delight any tractor enthusiast.