2010 Tractor - Rumely

The Nowthen Threshing Show Features the Rumely Line of Tractors
August 20 - 22, 2011 


The Altenwegs and Their Love for Toys, Trucks and Tractors

By Jody Hicks


How many of you knew there was an Oil Pull Song? Well here is the song (done to the tune of U.  S.  Field Artillery March – Sousa):

Over hill, over dale
Up and down the dusty trail
Keep the” Oil Pull” arolling along,
In and out hear them shout
To the right and turn about
     Keep the “Oil Pull” arolling along

For its hi hi he
For the Advance Rum-e-ly
We’ve got the country going strong
Where ‘er you go, you will always know
     That the “Oil Pull” is rolling along

Don’t you hear, loud and clear
All the Rumely Dealers cheer
When the “Oil Pull” is rolling along!
Here and there, everywhere
For they’re built upon the square,
     And they’ll always go rolling along.



Today’s story talks about the 1918 14-18 Oil Pull that is owned by the Ralph Altenweg family.

My time spent with Ralph and Barb was quite enlightening on their interests and the number of collections they have.  I am going to take some time to share with you, only at a high level, what I learned, what information about the 14-28 Oil Pull was shared and a little about some of their other collections.  I hope you enjoy…… 

As our discussion began we find out that Ralph found out that Ronnie Westphal had purchased a couple of tractors in North Dakota that would be nice to have and restore.  He had purchased a 15-30 near Adams, ND and a 14-28 near Walhalla, ND.  So through a conversation with Ronnie the Altenwegs determined that they were interested and willing to purchase from Ronnie the 14-28 Oil Pull.  Through further research Ralph has determined that they are the third owners of this particular 14-28, S/N #10468, which is the first step in the process of determining this is a 1918 Oil Pull.  Actually this 14-28 is one of the last of the 14-28s built.  To get a picture of what Oil Pull built, when and more details, please reference the chart “Rumely Oil Pull Tractors 1910 – 1930” included in this newsletter.  In reviewing this chart you will see that the 14-28 ended in early 1919 and the 16-30 was started at the immediate ending of the 14-28; creating the overlap that makes it necessary to determine for sure if it is 14-28 or a 16-30. 

Some additional details about how Ralph got the 14-28.  Ronnie already had a 16-30 and was very willing to sell the 14-28 to the Altenwegs.  Ronnie went to H&S Asphalt to ask if they could borrow a truck and trailer to haul home the 14-28 and the 15-30 in one trip.  The most memorable moment of

the trip was that the Mack truck they borrowed burned a little oil.  It was necessary to add a gallon of oil at a time (not a quart – but a gallon).

In our conversation I asked Ralph and Barb what condition the 14-28 was in when they got it.  The immediate response from Barb was “rust”.  She continued by indicating that Ralph bought 4 wire brushes and they all got started on wire brushing the “rust”.  The beginning of the restoration.

Ralph continued to tell that all the pieces of the tractor were there.  After the family did the cleaning and preparing, the tractor was primed and then painted with Mack Truck green.  This restoration is what you will see when you see the tractor.  No major “re-dos” have been done since then.

Because of the closeness to the end of production of the 14-28s and the beginning of the 16-30s, Ralph found many of the ways to determine the difference between the two models. 

In 1919
14-28s did not have starting notches on flywheel as the 16-30s did
14-28s had rectangular fuel tanks and 16-30s had round tanks

14-28s gear shift was in the center and 16-30s were on the left side

14-28s had flat front tie rods and the 16-30s had round

These are some of the most obvious differences.  Ralph’s 14-28 has all the options for 14-28s and along with the Serial Number the family is sure that this is a 1918 model.  Also through a conversation with EmertsonWirtz, a former Oil Pull employee, Emertson and Ralph confirmed that this 14-28 was

one of the last built because it could be ordered with a high tension magneto and spark plugs, instead of ignitors.

Over time the family feels very fortunate that this 14-28 has not needed much in repair.  There was one repair that one of our NHPA members assisted the Altenwegs with.  Leo Eiden was able to rebuild the magneto for them at one of the times when NHPA was at the Hennepin County Fair.

From the arrival of the 14-28 at Ralph and Barb’s, their sons, Scott and Todd, have had an interest in the tractor.  Recently Ralph had mentioned that the family could put a starter on the tractor to make it easier to start.  Scott’s immediate response was no starter; we are not making a hodge podge out of the tractor with an add-on starter.

Ralph was able to obtain some memorabilia from the Oil Pull factory remains from LaPorte, Indiana.  If you visit Ralph at the Steam House at the show grounds you may see it on the north wall.

The Oil Pull collectors still meet for a Rumely Reunion.  Cass Bowyer organizes this event at LaPorte, Indiana, at the old fire station.  Cass Bowyer had relatives involved in the Oil Pull company originally.

The Altenweg’s interest in collecting started with hit and miss engines in connection with the Anoka Engine Club.  Ralph mentions that he was with RonnieWestphal and many others in the beginning of the Anoka Engine Club which led to the Rogers Threshing Show.

As time passed, the Altenweg’s realized that they needed a truck and trailer to haul the Oil Pull.  They decided that they would like to get an older truck to use to haul their older tractor.  This led to the 1948 KB-8 International truck that you have seen them use and take through our parade.  The KB-8 has a 450 cubic inch, 6 cylinder Red Diamond engine (biggest engine in those trucks).  In 1976 Ralph built the trailer that you see him using today.  The improvement to the trailer since it was original built is the goose neck conversion.

Some of the other things that you will find if you stop by and visit with the Altenwegs is a toy tractor and truck collection displayed in a large glass display case located in their garage.  Also you will find some unique tables that they made and put various picture collections on the table tops, i.e., Barb’s family

pictures, a table top with NHPA calendar photos, a table top with trucks, quilts, Barbie dolls and a few others.  Barb has set up in their basement her doll collection.  You will also see oil paintings of the Oil Pull, a JD tractor and few other paintings done by Ralph in their home.

I enjoyed my visit with Ralph and Barb and enjoyed seeing all of their prized possessions.  I want to thank them for allowing us to enjoy this through a short story published in the spring newsletter for the NHPA membership.

Before look at the 14-28 as it is being brought home from Walhala, ND in the early ‘70s Restored 14-28 a few years later, being driven by Ralph and his sons, Scott and Todd