John Nichols opened a blacksmith shop in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1848. Around 1850 he had build his first thresher and at this time David Shepard became his partner. They went on to improve their threshing machines for years to come. After the passing of John Nichols in 1891 and David Shepard in 1904 production of gasoline tractors began around 1911. The company continued building steam traction engines as well. Nichols & Shepard continued to build steam engines, gasoline tractors, and threshing machines in the 1920s, but the sales of these large machines had fallen so they introduced a smaller 4 cylinder tractor. Although it never appeared the company experienced financial trouble they never realized the potential of the market for their smaller tractors.
In 1886 Nichols & Shepard Company was born with the partnership of John Nichols and David Shepard and it was one of the largest thresher building companies in the country. Production of gasoline tractors began in 1911 with the continuation of steam traction engines. In 1929 the Board of Directors held a meeting discussing the offer to be bought out by Oliver Farm Equipment Company. They accepted the offer and Nichols & Shepard was sold. Oliver ended the production Nichols & Shepards entire line of steam and gasoline tractors, replacing them smaller four cylinder tractors marketed under the Oliver-Hart Parr name.
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