UNCLE GEORGE'S NICHOLS & SHEPARD ENGINE


| November/December 1976



Nichols & Shepard engine

1339 Evergreen Drive, Twin Falls, Idaho 83301.

In the Fall of 1929, my uncle, George Land of Farnam, Nebraska, received his new Nichols & Shepard threshing outfit. The steam engine was a 25-85 side mounted single cylinder engine #13,866 and the separator was a 40-64 Red River Special with a Humane extension feeder. The records of this engine were lost in 1934 when a tornado destroyed the entire farm improvements where the engine was stored. The building the engine was in was demolished. The only damage done to the engine in the storm was one dent in the rear left side of the cab. The safety valve on this late buttstrap boiler was set for the odd steam pressure of 137 lbs. Everett Rohrer of Englewood, Colorado, has an excellent re-built Nichols &

Shepard engine of the same size and style with a higher serial number.

This outfit was purchased from the company branch at Lincoln, Nebraska and shipped from the factory at Battle Creek, Michigan. The rig was shipped in error to southern Missouri where it was later found and sent on to my uncle at Grant, Nebraska. He threshed at Grant about a week and then the outfit was shipped home. After that uncle George threshed a few short seasons around home.

During uncle George's ownership, my father, George Kestler, was about the only person to operate the engine as uncle never did run it. My father had a Nichols & Shepard engine and separator which he purchased in 1918. The steamer was a double cylinder rear mounted 25-85 size which he used threshing and plowing for many years around Haxtun, Colorado. I visited the Lincoln company branch in 1928 and had a good visit with the salesman who sold my father his Nichols & Shepard outfit in 1918. Several stories have appeared in The Iron-Men Album Magazine over the years about father's Nichols & Shepard and Case rigs. My father was born, raised and farmed in the same neighborhood as uncle George Land until he moved to northeast Colorado in 1914. It is not known what uncle George paid for his engine in 1929. My father paid $4,500 for his 25-85 double rear mounted Nichols & Shepard engine in 1918 and the first Spring he had it he made enough on one sod breaking job at $3.50 per acre to pay for the engine. Uncle's Nichols & Shepard engine was sold for $350 at his farm sale in October, 1933. Subsequently, each time the ownership of the engine changed hands, the price increased substantially. Uncle George's neighbor, Andrew Hazen of Farnum, bought it. Hazen used the engine to thresh with until 1939 when he got a combine. In 1942 Hazen used the engine to operate a steam hammer in building a small local bridge. The engine was then put back in the machinery building where it was kept until October, 1961 when the writer and several friends, all from the Bird City, Kansas steam engine group, visited the Hazen farm and operated the engine on a Fall afternoon. When Hazen purchased the Nichols & Shepard he had a 16 HP Advance steamer. During World War II, the hot shot of the scrap drive threatened to take both engines from Hazen so he junked the Advance which he later regreted.

After Hazen's death, the Nichols & Shepard engine was sold to Chet Sawyer of Bird City, Kansas. Sawyer was president of the Antique Engine & Threshers Association at Bird City for many years. Sawyer had the engine at the Bird City engine show for several years where it was a wonderful attraction. This is the same show on the Mrs. Roy Kite farm where I had my Case steam outfit for 17 years before it was shipped to Twin Falls, Idaho in 1969.