The history of American makes of engines and threshers
Edwin C. Nichol became president of the company when his father passed away in 1891 at the age of 77.
During the eighteen nineties self-feeders, weighers, baggers, loaders and wind stackers were developed. Nichols & Shepard were among the first companies to use the 'Farmer's Friend' stacker, they also used the Nethery and See burn before finally adopting the Gearless.
Their engines were improved by changing the steering from left to right handed or flywheel side and the use of the friction clutch.
Woolf Compound cylinders were introduced in 1896 and applied to both their direct and return flue boilers. They were built-until 1904.
The beginning of the century saw the first of their 16 bar cylinder threshing machines being tried in the vast grain fields of the Red River Valley. As a result of the wonderful work these machines performed they became known as the 'Red River Special', and were soon one of the most popular machines in the country.
Universal type boilers mounted with Corliss guide engines were the beginning of a new line of engines capable of burning coal, wood or straw. By 1902 this new line had eliminated all other types built by the company.
Double cylinder engines were brought out in 1904, in sizes 18 and 25 horse, of a pattern similar to their single cylinder engines.
David Shepard passed away in 1904 at the age of 84, having been vice-president of he company till then.
A line of improved double cylinder engines were commenced in 1905 ranging in size from 13 horse to heavy plow engines of 25, 30 and 35 horse. The 35 horse power size was one of the larger traction engines built expressly for plowing, its drive wheels being 87 inches in diameter with a 32 inch face.
Nichols & Shepard Company entered the large tractor field in 1912 just as it was fading out, which perhaps accounts for the fact that they were not too widely used. Their first model was a 35-70 horse size, followed by a 22-42 (later 25-50) and then an 18-36 (later 20-42).
In 1914 double cylinder rear mounted engines made their appearance in a 25 horse size. Afterward 20 and 16 horse sizes were added. The side mounted doubles were dropped from the line shortly thereafter.
Red River Special threshing machines were now being built in sizes up to 44x64 and were still one of the most popular built in this country.
After World War I the trend was toward the use of sheet steel in the construction of farm machinery and so the Red River Special was given a galvanized steel housing in place of the time honored wood painted red with green sills, striped and transferred to suit even the most particular.
This era also brought an end to the heavy tractor for threshing and farm use so Nichols & Shepard supplied Allis-Chalmers and later Lauson tractors with their threshers.
Combines and corn pickers were added to the line and provided the main portion of the plant production when Nichols & Shepard was absorbed by the Oliver merger in 1929.
Presumably the name Nichols & Shepard will disappear as that of Oliver dominates in their modern advertising, but only death can erase the fond memories of the old timers who used the machinery carrying the names NICHOLS & SHEPARD.