The George N. Pierce Co. of Buffalo, New York was famed from its earliest days as an automobile manufacturer for the quality of its design and construction and the materials employed. Its earliest automobiles were introduced in 1900 and refined by Chief Engineer David Fergusson from 1901.
Although they would soon be supplanted by large, luxurious multi-cylinder automobiles the first Pierces were powered by single cylinder engines initially built under license from deDion Bouton and later improved by Pierce.
Called the Pierce Motorette, by 1904 the Pierce-built single made 8 brake horsepower and drove through a 2-speed planetary gearbox and spur gear directly to the rear axle with two wheel brakes built into the hubs. Wheel steering was something of an innovation at the time and suited the Motorette's versatile Stanhope body with seating for two behind the wheel and two more in a folding seat in front of it.
This 1904 Pierce Motorette has been VCC dated and has successfully completed the London-Brighton Veteran Car Run on several occasions. In the early 50's it was one of a number of important automobiles in the collection of famed tenor James Melton who displayed it in his Connecticut museum and in his Autorama in Hypoluxo, Florida. It was purchased from Melton by radio heir Atwater Kent, Jr. and later donated to the Pennsylvania State Museum. It was acquired from the Museum in 1996 by the immediate previous owner.
A proven and accepted participant in the Brighton Run, it is an example of the very best of early American automobiles and the beginning of a long line of successful, luxurious Pierce-Arrow automobiles.