The peak of 1930's pure elegance in automotive design and luxury, a 1934 Pierce-Arrow 840A Silver Arrow Coupe 2 one of only some 1,700 plus Pierce-Arrow's to be built that year. Pierce-Arrow a grand name in American automobile history had started building cars in 1901. The company's first car, the Pierce Motorette, revealed little of the classic Pierce-Arrows to follow, being powered by a 1 cylinder motor of very modest power - as little as 3 1/2 to be exact!
Picture
Photo courtesy of Mr. Jack Snell
But Pierce-Arrow would soon begin to aim its automobiles at the elite of the new driving class. Sales were greatly boosted by the showing the Pierce-Arrow Great Arrow model made starting with a win in the first Glidden Tour. Pierce built automobiles would win the next 4 Glidden Tours and establish itself as a leader in quality built automobiles. By 1909 both the car and the company would be named Pierce-Arrow. In 1913 the most famous Pierce-Arrow feature of all would arrive, the fender mounted headlights that made a Pierce-Arrow instantly recognizable.  

So, you may ask, what does all of this have to do with birdcages? And there is where are story starts, for the majestic Pierce-Arrow were built in Buffalo, New York by a company that had its start in building birdcages. The old saying "truth is stranger that fiction" certainly applies here. Among its other earlier products were ice boxes and bicycles, seemingly having a predilection for producing items starting with the letter b that had no apparent other relationship to one another. Pierce would build some of those prestigious and expensive cars of its era, but after a rather short stint under Studebaker ownership would fall prey to the Great Depression. 

We are now left with the other odd items in our original list - overalls, pianos, thermostats, and razor blades. Perhaps the Pierce-Arrow example gives you a clue, but be aware the companies that produce the other items are still well-known today and very much in business.

Check back soon as the "secret of the odd automobile manufactures " is revealed. A mystery worthy of Lieutenant Columbo, Perry Mason, Hercule Poirot, and perhaps even Sherlock himself!
 


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