Meinrad Rumely was dead, there was no doubt about it. Even the board of directors said so. His grandson, the good Doctor Edward A. Rumely had returned from Germany where he had been studying medicine to head up the company. He had met Rudolf Diesel while he was there and was impressed by the potential of his engine. On this side of the pond John Secor had also been developing an engine that could burn cheap fuels and in 1908 Dr. Rumely recruited his services. Assisted by the Rumely factory superintendent, William Higgins, he designed the first Oil Pull tractor in 1909. By the end of 1910 more than a hundred had been manufactured.
Early production models like the Type B 25-45 Oil Pull were large, heavy and expensive but they were well received and Rumely sold a lot of them. As it turned out Rumely sold too many of them ( most on credit sales ) and a crop failure in 1914 sent the company into bankruptcy when farmers defaulted on their loans. The company was soon reorganized but without the Rumely family who were left holding a lot of worthless paper. Maybe Ed Rumely should have studied business administration instead of medicine.
In the day of sod busting on the the prairies the big tractors were king, but by the 1920’s the market was shifting toward smaller, lighter and less expensive equipment. Rumely had produced a light tractor as early as 1916 when it introduced the 8-16 All Purpose which was followed in 1919 by a 12-20 Oil Pull. The type M 20-35 Oil Pull ( the subject of this post ) was introduced in 1924 and remained in production until 1927.
Early in 1925 Rumely packed up serial number 79 of the M 20-35 and shipped it off to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where it was tested between March 29 to April 15 in Tractor Test # 111. You can view and download a complete copy of the test report by visiting http:// digitalcommons.unl.edu/tractormuseumlit/ .
Specifications listed on the report gave the model M a horizontal 2 cylinder valve in head engine with a bore of 6 13/16” and stroke of 8 ¼” . Turning at 640 rpm it produced 35.39 brake hp and 21.13 hp at the drawbar while consuming 3.586 gal. of kerosene per hour. Forward speeds were recorded as 2 mph in first, 2.5 mph in second and 3 mph in third.
Sources: Nebraska Tractor Test # 111 report, Encyclopedia of American Farm Tractors by C. H. Wendel. And special thanks to the members of the Richland Creek Antique Power Association for providing the photo op.