The Parsimonious Mr. PiperWritten by Daryl Murphy
The Piper name is perhaps the most famous in all of aviation, but the fact that William T. Piper was even in the airplane business was a fluke. When the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Co. was raising local money to relocate their operation to Bradford, Penn., Piper’s partner in an oil company committed $400 of Piper’s money while he was out of town. Piper was named to the board of directors, and appointed treasurer.
Less than a year later the Taylors were bankrupt, and Piper bought their assets for a bid of $761. A savvy businessman, he put designers to work improving the Taylor product, and the E-2 emerged. The Taylor J-2 Cub followed in 1935.
Two years later a fire destroyed the Bradford factory and the company moved to Lock Haven, where the name was changed to Piper Aircraft Corp. and their first product was the J-3 Cub, priced at $1,270.