Straw racks in Red River Special steel separators with 15 bar cylinders, built prior to 1925, consisted of five shakers. The first four shakers were carried and driven by the Brady shaker carriers on the inside of the separator. Those shaker carriers were carried by four wooden, hangers pivoted at the top. Two wooden hangers attached to the sides of each of the four shakers of the rack and pivoted from the top. Those hangers were on the inside of the separator and moved close to the sides of the separator. When the carriers moved ahead and back, the arms attached to the sides of the shakers and pivoted at the top, produced the up and down movement of the shakers. The last shaker was carried by four hangers on the outside of the separator and driven by two short pitmans from the shaker carriers.
Wild oats was plentiful in 1923 on the Minneapolis Territory. Wild oats straw did not dry cure and become brittle as did domestic oats, barley and wheat straw. It wound around shafts and collected where other straw caused no trouble.
The wheat crop on the Salina Block was short in 1923 and Nichols and Shepard Company inquired about my going north. I never had worked in the north and told the company I would be pleased to go. Nichols and Shepard Company instructed me to report to the Minneapolis Branch and I arrived there ahead of schedule.
I was not there long, until I learned the tough wild oats straw was causing straw rack trouble in the steel separators by collecting between the shaker arms and the sides of the separators. So much straw finally collected, it bulged the sides of the separator and created so much friction, it was necessary to stop and remove the straw. The service men seemed unable to do anything to prevent it.
Nichols & Shepard Company considered re-designing the separator in such a way, the hangers would have been on the outside of the separator to overcome that trouble but it would have been costly to build and the company decided to build a differently designed separator. Nichols & Shepard Co., before building the new machine, wrote their salesmen and inquired, which separator they premerred, a Case or a Wood Bros.
Nichols & Shepard Co., bought a Wood Bros. separator, shipped it to the factory and built 300 Excellos.
The frame of a Wood Bros, separator was constructed of straight steel and the deck was straight. The only noticeable difference in the design of a Wood Bros, and an Excello frame, was in the shape of the decks. The deck of the Excello, over the beater, sloped toward the cylinder, with a short abrupt slope toward the wind stacker.
The straw rack of a Wood Bros. separator was of four sections and rotated on crankshafts. The bottom of the grain-pan was corrugated, the shoe an end shake and the fan an undershot. All Nichols & Shepard fans were over-shot. The Wood Bros. separator was without a beater and the straw rack contained nothing upon which tough straw could collect or wrap.
An Excello was nearly a duplicate of a Wood Bros, separator. The only noticeable difference was the front end. The front end was Nichols and Shepard. The cylinder, concaves, Man Behind the Gun, beater and tailings elevator were Nichols & Shepard. Wood Bros., because of the similarity of the machines, stopped Nichols and Shepard from building Excellos.
Wood Bros. were highly honorable men and liberal in settlement with Nichols & Shepard Company. That Company paid Wood Bros, for the making of those Excellos. R. B. Lyman, deceased, manager for Nichols & Shepard Company at the Kansas City Branch in 1924 said, 'Nichols & Shepard Company paid Wood Bros, by contracting work done in Wood Bros., shops.' Wood Bros, shops were more modern than Nichols & Shepard shops.
Nichols & Shepard Co., sold those Excellos and the reports on them were excellent but when Nichols and Shepard had to pay for building them that Company built no more Excellos. No company ever received better advertising than Wood Bros., when Nichols & Shepard Co., built those Excellos.
The next year, 1925, Nichols and Shepard Company re-designed the frame of the steel separator. The sills were of one piece and sloped from the front to the rear. Shafts of the cylinder, beater, fan, wind stacker, belt tighteners and belt guide were equipped with Hyatt roller bearings. Nearly all pulleys were fiber. The straw rack was the regular Nichols & Shepard rack. The hangers remained inside the separator but moved closer to the sides than in separators made prior to 1925.