Beginning with the blacksmith shop of German immigrant Meinrad Rumely (1823-1904), this successive family of firms invented and produced a line of agricultural equipment that played a vital role in the evolution of farming based on the muscle of humans and animals to one based on the power of the steam and ultimately the internal-combustion engine. The M. & J. Rumely Co. became the M. Rumely Co., and then the Advance Rumely Co. The Allis-Chalmers Company acquired the business in 1931.
The economic situation in the whale oil business (for lighting), coupled with the increased demand for lubricants, stimulated growth in the U.S. petroleum industry. The drilling of the heavy, sulfurous, and asphaltic California crude began in the 1870s at the Pico Canyon area, using the apparatus and techniques from Titusville, Pennsylvania, developments.