The founder of R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc., Richard Harper Sheppard (1912-1979), was born with an indomitable entrepreneurial spirit coupled with an inventor’s creativity and sharp desire to – put quite simply – make things better. As the son of Harper Donaldson Sheppard, R. H. Sheppard, or “Bub” as he was known to his friends, was familiar with the inner workings of a manufacturing company. H. D. Sheppard, together with C. N. Myers, began making shoes in 1899 when they founded the famous Hanover Shoe Company, which began manufacturing shoes and then selling them out of their own retail outlet in York, Pennsylvania in 1900. This was an unusual business model at the time, but eventually became the norm for all types of retailers.
Perhaps as a result of his father’s influence or his own penchant for ingenuity, R. H. Sheppard began “tinkering” with engines as a teenager. After graduating from Dickinson College, Mr. Sheppard began building his own diesel engines as early as 1933. In 1937, Mr. Sheppard founded R.H. Sheppard Co., Inc. by purchasing a manufacturing facility in Hanover that made, among other things, the venerable Kintzing wire cloth loom. In those early years, Mr. Sheppard’s fledgling company continued to manufacture the factory’s existing product line, but by the late 1930’s his fascination with diesel engine technology consumed the majority of his time and energy.
During his tenure with the company, R. H. Sheppard would spearhead the majority of the company’s engineering and manufacturing endeavors, which led the company through the production of diesel engines, generators, farm tractors, and ultimately power steering systems. Mr. Sheppard’s keen intellectual curiosity would make him a prolific inventor and the holder of more than forty patents on various diesel engine, and steering technologies and systems.
By the time of his death in 1979, Mr. Sheppard’s son Peter had come on board as the company’s successor CEO – a title he still holds today. Although it’s been more than a quarter of a century since R. H. Sheppard’s passing, his spirit and memory lives on in his namesake company.