Pierce-Arrow Bicycles

The George N. Pierce Company entered the transportation field in 1891 with the introduction of their first bicycle catalog. As the 1890’s progressed, the bicycle transitioned from a curiosity of the rich to a commodity for the masses. By the late 1890s, the bicycle gained in technical complexity as innovative features were introduced to satisfy the hungry market. While some of the major innovations such as the chainless, cushion frame and coaster brake were shared industry wide, others such as the spring fork appear to be of Pierce origin.

The successful incorporation of these improvements and attention to detail helped to establish Pierce as one of the most respected names in the industry. The bikes were not inexpensive and, in 1901, ranged in price from $40 for the standard model to $80 for the chainless with optional coaster brake.

Below is a brief list of the major innovations and their first appearance on Pierce bicycles:

  • 1898 cushion frame
  • 1899 collet type binders for seat & handlebars
  • 1898 coaster brake
  • 1900 chainless
  • 1902 front spring fork

When the company split in 1906, the Pierce Cycle Company was formed and the nameplate changed accordingly. These models were continued with little change until the company dissolution in 1918. Bicycle production diminished during the period due to automobile popularity and focus on motorcycle production. In 1918, the Emblem Manufacturing Company purchased the Pierce assets and again revised the nameplate to reflect the change from Buffalo, New York to Angola, New York and produced bikes under the Pierce name until 1940.