Nichols & Shepard MANUFACTURING INTERESTS


| May/June 1995



An envelope from Michael Streff

Van Buren Flywheelers 64958 M-43 Highway Bangor, Michigan 49013

Taken from The History of Calhoun County, Michigan 1830 to 1877

Although we don't know the publication date of this article, it appears to be circa 1878.

There is nothing more indicative of the prosperity of a place than its manufacturing interests; and basing the present activity and the prospective future development of Battle Creek, Michigan, as a manufacturing centre, upon its natural advantages and eligibility, and upon the enterprise of its citizens, very promising results are manifest. The most prominent establishment in the city is that of Nichols, Shepard & Company, the proprietors of the 'Vibrator' thrashing machine works. It is generally appreciated by the farmer that the thrashing machine is one of the most important articles of farm-machinery that the inventive talent of the age has produced. Its province and distinctive field is to secure to the farmer and grain-grower the net results of many months of patient toil. Hence the manufacture of this essential adjunct of agricultural industry, and that too on a scale proportionately unsurpassed in the country, is an honor of which Battle Creek feels justly proud. The nucleus around which this extensive establishment has developed was a comparatively small works located in West Canal Street, originated by Messrs. Nichols and Shepard in 1848. A remarkable feature connected with its growth and progress is the fact that it has been continuous for twenty-nine years, there having been no change in the firm nor no essential alteration in the class of manufacturers, except so far as the advancement in mechanical science demanded.

An extended visit to the establishment of Messrs. Nichols, Shepard & Company for the purpose of writing a description of their works, enables us to submit to our readers and their posterity the subjoined account:

As above stated, the works were originated by the present senior members of the company in West Canal Street in 1848. There they flourished until 1869, when they erected their present works, which are located at the junction of the M.C. and C. and L.H. Railroads. We first called at the office, which is a substantial building, as nearly fire-proof in its construction as possible. It is forty feet square, and, like the other buildings, is of brick. In it are the main office, located on the first floor, and several other rooms necessary for the transaction of the official business of the establishment. It is furnished with a fire-proof vault, in which are the safes, wherein are kept the books and other valuables of the company. Here several clerks are employed, and an admirable business system is observable in every department.