Paul Pigott and Seattle investors buy back Pacific Car and Foundry Co. on February 27, 1934.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 4/10/2001
  • Essay 3190
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On February 27, 1934, Paul Pigott (1900-1961) and a group of Seattle investors buy Pacific Car and Foundry back from American Car Manufacturing Co. Pacific Car had been sold to American Car in 1924. American Car operated the Renton and Portland plants under the Pacific Car name. The local ownership steers the company to profitability and then to significant expansion.

Pacific Car and Foundry had been founded by William Pigott (1860-1929), Paul Pigott's father, as Seattle Car Manufacturing Co. in 1905. In 1924, the stockholders sold the company to American Car Manufacturing Co. The new business was at first profitable, but a decline in the demand for railroad rolling stock, followed by the Great Depression, was devastating to the company. Employment dropped from 1500 in 1923 to 125 in 1934. Work was irregular and wages and salaries had been cut. In addition, the plant had not been maintained. The Seattle banker asked Pigott, "What are you buying that rust pile for?" Pigott replied, "Because I think I should furnish employment to the extent that I can."

Pigott worked hard to increase company performance and he plowed profits back into plant improvements. The company expanded, acquiring both the Seattle firm Kenworth Motor Truck Corp. and the Everett Pacific Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company during World War II. In 1958, Pacific Car acquired Peterbilt Trucks.

In 1972, the Company changed its name to PACCAR Inc.


Alex Groner, PACCAR: The Pursuit of Quality, (Bellevue: Documentary Book Publishing Co., 1981), 1-85.

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