Iron Man Of The Month

| November/December 1968

  • Sawyer-Massey engine
    Iron-Man Diplomacy - while the United Nations argues till its blue in the face-ol' Sawyer-Massey, and O. W. Nichols of R. F. D. 1, Box 12, Pickerington, Ohio make friends 'mong the human race.

  • Sawyer-Massey engine

I. to r: Iron-Man O. W. Nichols and his Sassy Lady' of Pickerington, Ohio seals international friendships with Canadian, Charlie Spicer of Corruna Ontario, Canada. It's always like a UN meeting round Sawyer-Massey at National Threshers Association Wauseon, Ohio.

Well, it seems that Dad Nichols couldn't somehow satisfy sonny boy's desire for more and more horsepower by fetching home big enough steam traction engines. So sonny boy (O. W. Nichols to be exact) broke with tradition and, instead of staying down on the farm as the paternal Nichols had hoped, by baiting him with steam engines to run, left the quaint confines of the Canadian countryside and, like Horatio Alger, sought fortune across the border.

'In 1917 I came to the states and worked several years in a garage at South Charleston, Ohio, then in a garage at Granville, Ohio,' recalls Iron Man Nichols.

His sortie of several years' crack at working on old Model-T's in Ohio garages didn't however produce the 'cure' our youthful Canadian 'Iron Man' might well have experienced, had he been a less noble soul. For O. W. Nichols it wasn't a cry of 'Back to the farm and Dad's dinner table' for some of Mom's cooking. Instead, wandering even farther a field of such earth bound preoccupations as notching quadrants and easing throttles on such things as farm traction engines, O. W. Nichols sprouted wings.

'In 1923, at the age of 27, I began to fly', is the way Iron Man Nichols explains the unusual transition from threshing grain by steam on a Canadian farm to threshing clouds by 'prop' in the high blue yonder. 'I piled up a total of 650 hours of soloing in an old Curtiss Jenny OX-5 powered by a 90 horsepower water-cooled engine.'

'There were no regulations in those days,' muses Nichols with usual sly grin letting you know, by innuendo, that many a telegraph wire, tree limb and fence row owed its continued existence to his split-second, hairbreadth throttle-arm gleaned in those tender years atop the throbbing deck of Dad s old steamer. 'Later when I applied for a transport pilot s license number 3255. There weren't many transport pilots in the country then.'