November 07, 2020


George N. Pierce Co. (1907)

Pierce-Arrow Motor Car Co. (1910-1932)

Buffalo, New York

This is a Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagon radiator emblem (1927-1932) kmc
Size: 97mm wide 52mm high   MM: D L Auld

Pierce was operating successfully as a manufacturer of high-quality motor cars when it introduced its first production trucks in 1910 (see Pierce-Arrow). 

A single forward control chain driven 5-ton capacity truck was built in 1907 and subjected to lengthy testing at the Goodrich Rubber Company. Pierce engaged some experienced engineers, who had previously worked at Dennis and Hallford in the United Kingdom, and they changed the truck design to a normal control worm-drive truck known as the Model R and added other design improvements. Production of Pierce-Arrow trucks began in earnest in 1909 for the 1910 model year.

The 5-ton Model R was joined in 1914 by a 2-ton Model X. Both truck models were widely used during World War I  by the US, British and French armies. Pierce-Arrow also built about 1,000 Class B Liberty trucks for the US Army. By 1917, Pierce-Arrow was building about 7,000 trucks a year compared with less than 2,000 passenger cars.

The post-war recession seriously affected Pierce-Arrow sales but new products continued to be developed. During the 1920's the Pierce-Arrow truck range extended to six models from 2-1/2-tons to 7-1/2-tons. Model Z coach and bus chassis using six-cylinder engines were introduced in 1924. In 1927, a smaller line of trucks called the Fleet Arrow range was introduced, using engines and other components from the Pierce-Arrow Series 80 passenger car. In 1929 there were three models in the Fleet Arrow range and six models in the larger truck range, which increased to 8-tons in 1931. Truck production ended in 1932 when the commercial side of the business transferred to White.


There are very few original period photos of Pierce-Arrow trucks and these do not show emblems with clarity. Photos of surviving Pierce-Arrow trucks are also limited and do not always show the original emblems. The following presentation of Pierce-Arrow truck emblems is my best assessment based on the evidence available at this time.

The first Pierce-Arrow trucks produced in 1909 and appearing in 1910 may not have carried an emblem. I suggest this on the basis that Pierce-Arrow passenger cars did not carry an emblem at this time apart from a few that had radiator scripts fitted by owners as an optional accessory. 

The Pierce-Arrow name would have been shown on the hubcaps, which had the following face design:

This is a Pierce-Arrow hubcap (1910)     mjs

However, there was an emblem for at least some Pierce-Arrow trucks in 1911, see the original photo of a Pierce-Arrow 5-ton truck shown below, which has a flat faced radiator tank top and carries a wide  rectangular-shaped radiator nameplate. It is possible that this radiator emblem was used from 1910. 

This is a Pierce-Arrow 5-ton truck showing a radiator emblem (1911)

Close-up showing Pierce-Arrow radiator nameplate (1911)

It is not possible to see the nameplate in any detail. A similar wide rectangular-shaped Pierce-Arrow nameplate made of cast brass was later used as a hood side nameplate but I have not found any authentic evidence that this rectangular cast brass nameplate was ever used as a radiator emblem. It is possible that the radiator nameplate in 1911 was a thinner sheet brass nameplate, similar the the Pierce-Arrow nameplate shown below but I cannot confirm this. This brass Pierce-Arrow nameplate is very rare.

This is a Pierce-Arrow nameplate (dates uncertain, poss 1911)      lktec
Size: 378mm wide 40mm high

From about 1912, the Pierce-Arrow truck had a heavy radiator with a ribbed tank top and, initially, did not carry a radiator emblem. 

Some surviving Pierce-Arrow trucks built at this time display a painted, cast brass Pierce-Arrow nameplate mounted on the sides of the hood, see example shown below, but I cannot confirm that Pierce-Arrow trucks originally carried this hood side nameplate in 1912.

Pierce-Arrow 5-ton truck with hood side nameplates (1912)  flickr

However, the following original photo of the first Pierce-Arrow 2-ton model, which appeared in 1914, does show a hood side nameplate and another Pierce-Arrow plate mounted on the side frame under the driver's seat:

Pierce-Arrow 2-ton truck with hood side nameplate (1914)  mtfca

A clearer example of the hood side nameplate is seen on the surviving Pierce-Arrow 5-ton truck from 1917 shown below. This truck also displays a nameplate mounted on the side frame under the driver's seat

Pierce-Arrow 5-ton truck with hood side nameplate (1917)  gcm

Pierce-Arrow hood side nameplate (1917)   gcm

The cast brass Pierce-Arrow hood side nameplate, see example shown below, continued in use on heavy Pierce-Arrow trucks until production ceased in 1932.  This Pierce-Arrow nameplate is scarce.

This is a Pierce-Arrow hood side nameplate (c1914-1932)     mjs
Size: 373mm wide 46mm high   MM: None

A cast brass Pierce-Arrow radiator emblem appears to have been used on trucks with a ribbed radiator tank top from about 1919 and seems to have continued in use until 1932, see example below, which also displays the hood side nameplate shown above:

Pierce-Arrow truck with radiator emblem (1919)  waterloo museum

This is the painted cast brass Pierce-Arrow radiator emblem shown below. This Pierce-Arrow radiator emblem is scarce.

This is a Pierce-Arrow radiator emblem (c1919-1932)     mjs
Size: 380mm wide 63mm high   MM: None

This Pierce-Arrow emblem was also mounted lower down on the ribbed radiator tank top on some models, as shown in the following photo from a 1932 Pierce-Arrow truck advertisement:

Pierce-Arrow truck showing radiator emblem (1932)   lktec

Pierce-Arrow Model Z buses, coaches and fire trucks produced from 1924 did not carry a radiator emblem but some did display the "Pierce-Arrow" name on brass radiator scripts, see example of a Pierce-Arrow 48-passenger bus shown below:

Pierce-Arrow bus with radiator script (1924)   conceptcarz

Close-up showing the radiator script (1924)

The following is an example of a 1920's Pierce-Arrow truck with a radiator script:

Pierce-Arrow showing a radiator script (1920's)        modelcarsmag

The following is an example of a Pierce-Arrow radiator script:

This is a Pierce-Arrow radiator script (c1924)    mjs
Size: 326mm wide

The Pierce-Arrow range of Fleet Arrow speed trucks introduced in 1927 carried the only enamel finished radiator emblem used on Pierce-Arrow commercial vehicles. This is the blue enamel Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagon radiator emblem shown below. This Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagon radiator emblem is rare.

Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagon radiator emblem (1927-1932) mjs
Size: 97mm wide 52mm high   MM: Unknown (some D L Auld) 

Some Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagon radiator emblems were finished in gold plate, see restored example shown above at the top of this post. This gold finished Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagon radiator emblem is very rare. 

Interestingly, I have been unable to find any original period photos of Pierce Fleet Arrow Wagons showing a radiator emblem. If you have such a photo, please let me know, in order to update this post.

After commercial vehicle production ceased, Pierce-Arrow designed and built luxury camper trailers called the Pierce-Arrow Travelodge, see example shown below:

This is a Pierce-Arrow Travelodge Trailer (1937)  gcm

The following is a rare Pierce-Arrow Travelodge nameplate, which was displayed on the outside of the trailer:

This is a Pierce-Arrow Travelodge nameplate (1936-1937)   mjs
Size: 203mm wide 70mm high

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