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The Parsimonious Mr. Piper

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January 2005

 

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.

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