Shop Talk

Preserving The Memories of Nipper Builders

ONE OF THE FARRIER INDUSTRY’S original nipper makers, Dale Everett Sprout, passed away on April 22. In 1960, he went to work with Adam Eckerich and George Earnest at G.E. Tools, building nippers.

In 1964, Sprout started DS Tools in Tule Lake, Calif., and moved his business in 1973 to Grants Pass, Ore. Sprout retired from toolmaking in 1990 and sold DS Tool to its present owner, Terry Burnes.

Born on Aug. 8, 1923, near Bridgeport, Neb., Sprout graduated form Tule Lake High School and married Iva May Loiselle in 1942. During World War II, he flew P-51 fighter planes in the European Theatre, serving as flight commander for the 15th Air Force based in Italy. Achieving the rank of captain, Sprout received many honors such as the Distinguished Flying Cross and Certificate of Valor.

He and his family were featured on the cover of Life magazine in 1947 as one of the winners of a national land lottery for war veterans. He and his family grew potatoes and wheat for a dozen years on this homesteaded land near Tule Lake.

Sprout was a member of the Pro Rodeo Association for 30 years and pursued his passion of team roping, calf roping and golf late into his life.

Roger Freeborn of Freeborn Tool & Forge in Eagle Point, Ore., worked with Sprout, shod horses for him, helped him periodically over the years and has written an account of a number of the prominent players in the toolmaking industry.

“My intention…

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