Rumely Oil Pull Tractor, 20-40


In 1923, John Ploesch purchased this Rumely Oil Pull tractor for $4,000 from an Advance-Rumely dealer in Woodbine, Illinois. He arranged with neighbors to thresh their crops, organizing what was called a threshing ring that lasted until 1948. The Rumely Oil Pull was belted to the threshing machine that separated the grain. Threshing became a major social event for farmers, laborers, and their families.

The Rumely Oil Pull was the first tractor to use an oil cooling system, which kept the engine at a steady temperature no matter how heavy the tractor's load. The cooling system allowed hotter cylinders and easier ignition. The Oil Pull starts on gas but runs on kerosene, making it much lighter and easier to maneuver than its steam-driven predecessors. This Rumely Oil Pull weighs seven tons.

Rumely engineers also made space for an extra person in the tractor's cab, gave the operator a clear view in every direction, and placed all the mechanisms--gear shift, clutch, foot brake, steering wheel, carburetor, and more--in easy reach. These new design elements helped the Rumely Oil Pull to surpass most old kerosene tractors, and many of these features were further refined in gasoline-powered machines.

Because of their hot-riveted steel frame construction, Rumely Oil Pulls lasted through years of harvests. Some were still in use as late as the 1960s.

Date Made: 1923

Maker: Advance Rumely CompanyAssembler: Miller, Ronald E.

Place Made: United States: Indiana, LaPorteUnited States: Illinois, Geneseo

See more items in: Work and Industry: Agriculture, Agriculture


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of Wayman Cobine

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: 1988.0372.01Catalog Number: 1988.0372.01Accession Number: 1988.0372

Object Name: tractor, rumely oil-pull, model g, 20-40hp

Physical Description: cast iron (overall material)steel (overall material)wood (overall material)green (overall color)red (overall color)yellow (overall color)white (overall color)Measurements: average spatial: 108 in x 89 in x 175 in; 274.32 cm x 226.06 cm x 444.5 cm


Record Id: nmah_1083828

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