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William T. Piper – Early Beginnings

by John M. White |

William T. Piper Sr. originally was interested in the oil business, and had formed some partnerships to participate in the oil boom in Pennsylvania with the expectation that he would work in that field, build up a nest egg to take care of his family, and then retire. But fate intervened when C.G. Taylor decided to move his manufacturing facilities and offered stock at a reduced price to any locale that would make the investment and offer the company, the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company, a new home. Enter Bradford, PA, home of William T. Piper Sr. A committee was formed to create an incentive for Taylor to move his plant to Bradford, and the committee offered to help place $ 50,000 worth of stock sales to get them there.
One of the investors turned out to be Piper, who put $ 600 into the venture. By 1931 the economy was in the tank and the Taylor Brothers Aircraft Company went bankrupt. Piper got a loan for $ 1,000, and purchased the land and buildings for $ 761.00. He agreed to let C.G. Taylor use the facility rent-free until the company could recover. The new company was known as the Taylor Aircraft Company, and Piper became both a board member and Treasurer of the company. Piper made Taylor the President in charge of engineering and manufacturing, while Piper was involved with raising capital and selling airplanes. Taylor CubC.G. Taylor decided to build a 2-place powered glider and used a Brownbach Tiger Kitten engine; however, the only way the vehicle got into the air was when it ran over a bump, and then only long enough to return to terra firma. The Tiger Kittne became a Cub, and that is how the Taylor Cub (and eventually the Piper Cub) got its name. Piper wanted to produce a cheap airplane within the reach of the ordinary citizen, and to that end Taylor designed the E-2 Cub which was certified on July 11th, 1931. During development the Sensenich Brothers, famous propeller manufacturers, loaded up their car and drove from Litiz, PA to Bradford with tools in hand and carved the first Cub propeller on the spot. Outfitted with an unreliable 37 hp Continental A-40 engine the Taylor Cub went into production in mid-1931, and by the end of the year 24 had been manufactured and sold. By now William T. Piper was fully involved in aviation, and he decided to get his private pilot’s license in order to understand the business and the market better. Aeronca was the Taylor Aircraft Company’s biggest and most competitive competition in those days, but we all know who won the race. You can get your very own paper model of the famous Piper J-3 Cub and save 40% by using the discount code "JetAviator7". Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7

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