The history of American makes of engines and threshers


| September/October 1953

  • Spur geared traction
    N & S 1880 spur geared traction. Horse steered and wooden wheels.
    E. R. Potter
  • Double traction
    N & S side mounted 35 hp. double traction. It was built for plowing. The largest engine built by this company.
    E. R. Potter
  • Iron wheel traction
    M & S horse guided iron wheel traction of 1881.
    E. R. Potter
  • N & S traction
    N & S traction of 1889 with self-guiding
    E. R. Potter

  • Spur geared traction
  • Double traction
  • Iron wheel traction
  • N & S traction

Therefore, in 1867, H. H. Taylor and C. Aultman formed a new company and set up a factory at Mansfield, Ohio to build vibrating thresh machines under license from Nichols & Shepard. Both of the Nichols and David Shepard were stockholders in this new company.

By 1870 the new vibrating type threshing machines, built only by a few companies, were gaining popularity over the apron type. This was especially true where the threshing machines were being driven by steam power as they seemed to operate easier and could thresh faster. The builders of apron machines battled them with everything in their power but by the end of the decade had to concede defeat. Most of the prominent companies had taken up the manufacture of a vibrator or other rack type machine.

To conform with newly passed laws the partnership was incorporated in 1871 under the name of Nichols, Shepard & Company.

For many years they had been calling their threshing machines the 'VIBRATOR', finally in 1874 they claimed originality and had the name registered in the Patent Office. Many attempted to infringe upon it.



The Nichols, both father and son, as well as David Shepard were ardent sportsmen and enjoyed hunting and fishing in northern Michigan with their friends and associates, including their partner and competitor, Cornelius Aultman. This interest in sports perhaps accounts for the choice deer head as the trade mark for the products of the company. For many years their engines and threshing machinery were adorned by the head of a ten point buck.

Portable engines had been sold by the company for a number of years to go with their threshing machines, but not until 1877 did they undertake to build them. Having always relied upon eastern engine and boiler builders to supply them.



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