Last year Vintages obtained a large collection of early Life magazines. One issue (Jan 4, 1912) was dedicated to automobiles. It is filled with advertisements for the automobiles and accessories -- tires, oil, etc. It is fantastic.
The ad that really grabbed my attention was the back cover ad for Pierce-Arrow. Throughout the teen years, Pierce-Arrow ads appeared many times on the back cover.
|Early 1900s Life Magazine Covers • The Automobile issue is in the center.|
The history of Pierce-Arrow starts with birdcages in 1865 and evolves through bicycles, motorcycles and motorcars from 1897 to 1938. The finest quality motor vehicles were produced from 1901 until 1938.
|Jan 4, 1912 Pierce Arrow ad the grabbed my attention|
The forerunner of Pierce-Arrow was established in 1865 as Heinz, Pierce and Munschauer. The company was best known for its household items, especially its delicate, gilded birdcages. In 1872, George Pierce bought out the other two investors, changed the name to George N. Pierce Company, and added bicycles and motorcycles to the product line by the turn of the century. In 1904, it produced a Pierce-Arrow automobile. This became Pierce's most successful product. The Arrows were solidly built cars with powerful two-cylinder engines. Pierce decided to concentrate on making a larger, more luxurious car for the upscale market.
The Pierce-Arrow became a status symbol, owned by many Hollywood stars and tycoons, while most of the world’s royalty had at least one Pierce-Arrow in their collections.
|Hood Ornament from 1919 Pierce Arrow|
Pierce-Arrow advertisements were artistic and understated. Unusual for car advertising, the image of the car was in the background rather than the foreground of the image and often only part of the car was visible. The Pierce-Arrow was typically depicted in elegant and fashionable settings. Some advertisements featured the car in places a car would not normally go, such as the West and other rural settings, a testament to the car's ruggedness and quality.
Here is a gallery of the back cover ads I found in Life magazines.
|Jan 11, 1912 Pierce Arrow ad|
|Feb 12, 1914 Pierce Arrow ad|
|Aug 12, 1915 Pierce Arrow ad|
|Feb 18, 1915 Pierce Arrow ad|
|Feb 4, 1915 Pierce Arrow ad|
|1919 Pierce Arrow ad|
|Restored 1915 Pierce Arrow Town Car|
For a history of the Pierce-Arrow and more photos visit the website of the Pierce-Arrow Society.