Pacific Car and Foundry Co. - 1895-present - Seattle, Washington & 1905-present - Renton Washington - now PACCAR


   

The Pacific Car and Foundry Company got its start in Seattle in the early 1900s building railroad cars for the logging industry. The company expanded quickly and, in 1905, bought land in Renton for a new plant. Now known as PACCAR, the company has factories in five countries, making heavy-duty trucks and other vehicles, railcars, and mining equipment.

Known School bus body builder on 1937 Chevrolet chassis - pictured in 1937 Chevrolet Bus Book.

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PACIFIC (i) (US) 1942-1945

Pacific Car & Foundry Co., Renton, Wash.

As part of the Armed Forces mobility program in World War II, the Pacific Car & Foundry Co., founded in 1905, designed and built a large cab-over 6x6 truck-tractor nominally rated at 12 tons. These were for towing M15 (and later M15A1) semi-trailers in tank transportation and recovery, and were possibly the most powerful pro­duction trucks of the war.

Designated as M26, these trucks were powered by a 6­cylinder Hall-Scott gasoline engine of 240 hp driving through a 4-speed transmission and a 3-speed central transfer case to a rear tandem drive and a front shaft drive. Wheels were of the divided-rim type with beadlocks. Tires were 14.00x24 20-ply non-directional military tread with duals on rear of the tractor and spread duals on the tandems of the trailer.

The Pacific was equipped with a cab-controlled front-­mounted winch of 35,000 pounds capacity on the first layer, primarily for the recovery of the tractor and semi-­trailer in case of becoming stuck in difficult terrain. In the rear of the cab, 2 winches were controlled in tandem or separately from a platform and had a 60,000 pound capa­city on the first layer. These were used primarily for load­ing and unloading the semi-trailer and tank recovery.

The first version, M26, was equipped with a 7-man armored cab having %-inch plate in front and Y4-inch plate on the sides, rear, and top. Entrance was at the side, to the rear of the front wheels. On the roof a ring mount was pro­vided for a .50 caliber machine gun. Windows were inclin­ed toward the center of the cab and provided with plate openings.

Later in the war, it became fashionable to supply open cabs for military trucks. Pacific got one, too, holding a 7­man crew as before, and this model was designated M26Al. The style was entirely different and armored below the window sill, with only the windshield and window frame-rails above that level. The roof-mounted machine gun was retained. The M26A1 acquired chains to drive the rear tandem. These trucks were real heavy­weights at 22 and 24 tons to pull trailers of 17'12 to 22'12 tons with capacities of 40 to 45 tons; for a gross combat load of some 80 to 90 tons.

Total Pacific production in WWII was 1272 trucks, many of which are still in civilian service in the United States and Europe as wreckers and very heavy specialized haulers.

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The Pacific Coach and Foundry' Company's April 1949 COACH newsletter announced that its school bus bodies would now include a roof escape hatch.

The article described why the feature was being offered.

In 1947 and intercity transit bus plunged into the Duwamish River near Renton, Washington. Water pressure blocked the doors, including the side escape door, making it impossible for passengers to escape. At the accident scene, rescuers cut a hole through the roof with an axe, and saved two passengers, although eight others perished.

Washington State patrolmen at the scene suggested the installation of roof hatches in order to avoid a similar catastrophe in the future.  

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purchased by American Car & Foundry in 1924? (But Pacific Car & Foundry name kept.)

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In 1905, William Pigott, Sr. founded Seattle Car Mfg. Co. to produce railway and logging equipment at its plant in West Seattle. The Company later merged with Twohy Brothers of Portland to become Pacific Car and Foundry Company, a name it retained for the next 55 years.

In 1924, William Pigott sold control of the Company to American Car and Foundry Company. During the Depression of 1929, business declined and the Renton plant fell into disrepair.

Paul Pigott, son of the founder, acquired a major interest in the Company from American Car in 1934. Under his leadership, the Company expanded its products and introduced the Carco line of power winches for use on crawler tractors in the logging industry. This product line later became the basis for PACCAR's Winch Division which now includes Braden, Carco and Gearmatic.

In 1941, America went to war, and the Company's Renton plant built Sherman Tanks and tank recovery vehicles for the military. Pacific Car and Foundry also constructed dry docks and steel tugboats during the conflict.

The Company entered the heavy-duty truck market in 1945 with its first major acquisition, Kenworth Motor Truck Company of Seattle. Pacific Car and Foundry greatly expanded its heavy-duty truck capability with the purchase Peterbilt Motors Company in 1958. That same year, the acquisition of Dart Truck Company permitted its entry into the entirely new market of mining vehicles.

The Company's Structural Steel Division fabricated the steel for the construction of the Space Needle for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Later, it played a major part in the construction of Grand Coulee's third powerhouse as well as New York's World Trade Center.

In 1960, PACCAR became an international truck manufacturer. Kenworth moved into Mexico with 49 percent participation in an affiliate company, Kenworth Mexicana S.A. de C.V., and in 1966 PACCAR entered the Australian truck market with the establishment of a Kenworth Truck assembly plant near Melbourne.

Also in 1960, Carco Acceptance Corporation, currently PACCAR Financial Corp. , was launched to facilitate domestic sales of trucks.

In 1967 the Dynacraft division was formed to provide belts, hoses, adapters, and other accessories for Kenworth and Peterbilt truck plants.

Believing "Pacific Car and Foundry Company" no longer accurately reflected the Company's products and activities, directors and shareholders voted to adopt PACCAR Inc (no punctuation) as its new name in 1972. Pacific Car and Foundry Company, located in the original Renton facility, became a division.

In 1973, two major divisions of PACCAR were founded. PACCAR International Inc., with headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, was formed to consolidate the sales and service of company products abroad, and PACCAR Parts Division was established in Renton to supply aftermarket parts sales.

PACCAR Leasing Corporation was formed in 1980 to offer full-service leasing and rental programs through PACCAR's dealer network. A year later, PACCAR became an European truck manufacturer with the acquisition of Foden Trucks in Sandbach, U.K.

PACCAR's new Technical Center opened in July of 1982. Located approximately 65 miles north of Seattle, the multimillion-dollar center underscored the Company's commitment to technical excellence, quality and value in the products it manufactures.

In 1986, PACCAR signed a merger agreement with Trico Industries, Inc., and became a recognized world leader in manufacturing oil field pumps and accessories. In December 1997 Trico was sold to EVI of Houston.

In 1987, PACCAR acquired Washington-based Al's Auto Supply, an aftermarket retailer and wholesale distributor of auto parts and accessories. In 1988, PACCAR increased its subsidiary PACCAR Automotive, Inc. when it purchased Grand Auto, Inc., a California-based retailer of auto parts and accessories. In October 1999, PACCAR Automotive was sold to CSK Auto, Inc.

PACCAR solidified its place in the Mexican heavy-duty truck market by purchasing the remaining portion of its Mexican Operation, VILPAC, S.A. in 1995.

The acquisition of DAF Trucks N.V. in 1996 and Leyland Trucks in 1998 solidified PACCAR's position as one of the major truck manufacturers in the world. DAF Trucks is a Netherlands based truck company with production facilities in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and Westerlo, Belgium. Leyland manufactures trucks in the 6-18 ton commercial segment at its plant in Lancashire, England.

In 1969, 28 acres of land were purchased at suburban Bayswater - 30 kms east of Melbourne for Kenworth Australia. Construction plans were drawn up and by 1970, the 56,000 sq. ft factory and office complex was completed to produce trucks initially on a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) basis. Throughout Kenworth Australia's 30 year history in Australia, it has become a major manufacturing force in the Australian, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea markets.

Today, PACCAR Inc is a worldwide manufacturer of light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF, Leyland and Foden nameplates. It also provides financial services and distributes truck parts related to its principal business. In addition, the Bellevue, Washington-based company manufactures industrial winches.

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Seattle Car Manufacturing Co. opens a railcar manufacturing plant in Renton on February 1, 1908.

On February 1, 1908, the Seattle Car Manufacturing Co. opens a modern railcar manufacturing plant in Renton. The destruction of Seattle Car’s Youngstown plant by fire, coupled with the repercussions of the national financial panic of 1907, has placed the company in voluntary receivership. The new plant gives the business new momentum and company president William Pigott (1860-1929) and vice president Oliver D. Colvin will successfully shepherd the company through this difficult period. This company will evolve into Pacific Car and Foundry (1917), and eventually PACCAR (1971).

Designing Transportation for Logs

Seattle Car manufactured railcars, many specifically designed to meet the unique needs of Northwest loggers. From its inception in 1905, Pacific Car had placed a high value on creative, innovative thinking when it came to solving customers’ design problems. The first innovation to come out of the Renton plant was the so-called "connected truck," a vehicle for the logging industry designed to carry the massive logs then coming out of Northwest forest. "Seattle Car’s innovation was to tie the trucks together with strong lengthwise members, and install bunks to keep the logs in place and chocks to hold the ends securely" (Groner, 34). The cars were assigned the trade name "Hercules."

The company’s next railcar innovation was an all-steel, 50-ton logging truck. The firm also introduced safer logging cars with air brakes and cars specifically designed to carry steam donkeys -- the portable, steam-powered winches that helped mechanize logging in the 1880s.

Invention and Innovation

In 1911, the company changed its name to Seattle Car and Foundry Company. The Federated Employees’ Union represented the employees and secured for them (among other benefits) an eight-hour day.

The company was perfectly positioned to serve and benefit from the burgeoning logging industry in the Pacific Northwest. Every year between 1910 and 1917, the firm built some 656 railway cars and 107 industrial cars. Most of these went to handle logs. By 1920, the firm had built more than 7,000 logging cars of special design, worth about $10 million.

Seattle Car and Foundry also invented what came to be known industry-wide as the "Universal Trailer," a rubber-tired, two-wheeled trailer that was pulled by a motor truck rather than a locomotive. The Universal Trailer could haul massive timber from remote locations.

On September 4, 1917, Seattle Car and Foundry merged with its only West Coast competitor, Twohy Brothers of Portland, Oregon. The new company was named Pacific Car and Foundry.

PACCAR: Business of the Century

Pacific Car and Foundry became PACCAR in 1971. The company has been an important part of the Renton community since the first shift of workers entered the original factory in 1908. Many Renton families have had two, three, or even four generations employed by Pacific Car/PACCAR. The factory and its employees contributed greatly to the efforts of both World Wars.

On June 28, 2001, the Renton Chamber of Commerce honored PACCAR as its Business of the Century. The company is the oldest still extant business in Renton. PACCAR’s 100-acre campus houses a Kenworth Truck plant, a distribution center, and the company’s parts division.

Sources:
Alex Groner, PACCAR: The Pursuit of Quality, Second Edition (Woodinville, WA: Documentary Book Publishing, 1996); Tony Dondero, "Renton Chamber to Honor PACCAR," King County Journal Website (www.kingcountyjournal.com/sited/story/html/58294).

By Paula Becker, January 12, 2004

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Pigott, Paul (1900-1961)

Paul Pigott was president of Pacific Car and Foundry Company from 1934 until his death in 1961, rebuilding the Seattle company from a "pile of rust" with 125 employees to one of the top 300 industrial corporations in the U.S. His energy, integrity, and success in business were matched by his philanthropy and leadership in charitable activities.

Steel man William Pigott (1860-1929) move to Seattle from Trinidad, Colorado, in 1896.  He marketed steel railroad products to loggers in the Northwest and started Seattle Steel Co. and Pacific Car and Foundry Co. in 1905. 

A Seattle Childhood

Paul Pigott was born in 1900 and grew up on Seattle's Capitol Hill.  He attended Broadway High School and graduated from Culver Military Academy in Indiana. He received a degree in metallurgical engineering from Stanford University.  As a child and teenager, he worked summers at the Pacific Car plant in Renton, starting at tasks such as sorting and counting nuts and bolts.  This early connection with the company made him regard it as a family business.

In 1924, the directors of Pacific Car voted to sell the company to American Car Manufacturing Co.  Paul, a minority stockholder, cast the one vote against the move. He went to work for Wallace Bridge and Structural Steel Company, rising from sales engineer to assistant to the president. Pigott inherited his father's entrepreneurial spirit.

The Great Downturn

Under American Car, Pacific car remained profitable until the Great Depression.  Where Pacific car received orders for thousands of rail cars in 1928, they received no new orders in 1930 and orders for just 35 in 1931.

Paul Pigott had always seen Pacific Car as a family enterprise and his feelings were shared by Seattle investors who saw the company as a local business.  They took advantage of hard times and offered to buy Pacific Car and its Renton and Portland plants from American.  American agreed on a price of $50,000. Paul Pigott became president and his brother William Jr. (1895-1947) became vice president.

Employment at "the car works" had fallen from 1500 in 1923 to 125 in 1934 and most of these 125 jobs were not full-time.  Operations were minimal and the plants had fallen into a state of disrepair.  A Seattle banker asked Pigott, "what did you buying that rust pile for?"  Pigott replied, "Because I think I should furnish employment to the extent that I can."

Pigott worked at improving the company's fortunes and in 1935, it almost broke even.  Pigott concentrated on upgrading the plant, hiring capable people, and diversifying its products.  Until the market for rail cars improved, Pacific Car focused on equipment for loggers and miners.  The acquisition of the a steel company (originally founded in 1895 by William Pigott's ex-partner) put Pacific Car into the structural steel business. The company supplied steel for bridges, dams, and other New Deal public works projects.  Landmarks such as Grand Coulee Dam (1938) and the Lake Washington Floating Bridge (1939) contain steel from Pacific Car.  To save money for capital improvements, top executive salaries during this period were limited to $275 a month (considerably less than $3,500 in 2000).

Business picked up in the late 1930s and Pacific Car expanded.  Orders for refrigerator cars came in and Pacific Car branched out to build buses and trolley cars.

Charles Lindeman of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer described Pigott as "headstrong, a man who assumes leadership of the party, instinctively ... without prior arrangement ... Pigott is impatient with people who cannot keep up with him -- mentally or physically."

War Years

When France fell to German forces in June 1940, the United States began to gear up for war.  Pacific Car joined the war effort by supplying components for Boeing B-17 bombers, steel for new defense factories, as well as logging and mining equipment.  In 1941 and 1942, Pacific Car built 926 Sherman Tanks for the Army, charging less for each tank than did any other manufacturer.  Under Pigott, the company expanded to shipbuilding and ship repair at the Everett Pacific Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company.  In 1945, Pacific Car acquired Seattle truck manufacturer Kenworth.

An attorney for Pacific Car said of Pigott, "Paul was impatient about details.  He knew where he was going and pointed in that direction and went there."

Pigott was active in other businesses too.  He was a member of the boards of directors for Standard Oil of California (Chevron), Washington Mutual Savings, General Insurance Company (Safeco), Seattle First National Bank, Boeing, Metropolitan Building Company (Unico), and the Seattle Chamber of Commerce.

He directed substantial energy to the community as well.  He was a regent for Seattle University and Stanford University, and gave generously to both institutions for buildings and educational programs. William Pigott Hall (1957) at Seattle University honored the memory of his father. William Pigott was one of the founders of the Seattle Blood Bank and United Good Neighbors. Pope Pius XI named him a Knight Commander of the Order of the Knights of St. Gregory.

Paul Pigott died from a brain tumor at the Mayo Clinic on January 23, 1961.

Under the leadership of Pigott's son, Charles M. Pigott (b. 1929), Pacific Car and Foundry became PACCAR, Inc. in 1972.

Sources:
Alex Groner, PACCAR: The Pursuit of Quality, (Bellevue: Documentary Book Publishing Co., 1981); "Pigott Building," Seattle University Website (www.seattleu.edu).

By David Wilma, April 11, 2001

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In 1905, William Pigott, Sr. founded Seattle Car Mfg. Co. to produce railway and logging equipment at its plant in West Seattle. The Company later merged with Twohy Brothers of Portland to become Pacific Car and Foundry Company, a name it retained for the next 55 years.

In 1924, William Pigott sold control of the Company to American Car and Foundry Company. During the Depression of 1929, business declined and the Renton plant fell into disrepair.

Paul Pigott, son of the founder, acquired a major interest in the Company from American Car in 1934. Under his leadership, the Company expanded its products and introduced the Carco line of power winches for use on crawler tractors in the logging industry. This product line later became the basis for PACCAR's Winch Division which now includes Braden, Carco and Gearmatic.

In 1941, America went to war, and the Company's Renton plant built Sherman Tanks and tank recovery vehicles for the military. Pacific Car and Foundry also constructed dry docks and steel tugboats during the conflict.

The Company entered the heavy-duty truck market in 1945 with its first major acquisition, Kenworth Motor Truck Company of Seattle. Pacific Car and Foundry greatly expanded its heavy-duty truck capability with the purchase of Peterbilt Motors Company in 1958. That same year, the acquisition of Dart Truck Company permitted its entry into the entirely new market of mining vehicles.

The Company's Structural Steel Division fabricated the steel for the construction of the Space Needle for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. Later, it played a major part in the construction of Grand Coulee's third powerhouse as well as New York's World Trade Center.

In 1960, PACCAR became an international truck manufacturer. Kenworth moved into Mexico with 49 percent participation in an affiliate company, Kenworth Mexicana S.A. de C.V., and in 1966 PACCAR entered the Australian truck market with the establishment of a Kenworth Truck assembly plant near Melbourne.

Also in 1960, Carco Acceptance Corporation, currently PACCAR Financial Corp., was launched to facilitate domestic sales of trucks.

In 1967 the Dynacraft division was formed to provide belts, hoses, adapters, and other accessories for Kenworth and Peterbilt truck plants.

Believing "Pacific Car and Foundry Company" no longer accurately reflected the Company's products and activities, directors and shareholders voted to adopt PACCAR Inc (no punctuation) as its new name in 1972. Pacific Car and Foundry Company, located in the original Renton facility, became a division.

In 1973, two major divisions of PACCAR were founded. PACCAR International Inc., with headquarters in Bellevue, Washington, was formed to consolidate the sales and service of company products abroad, and PACCAR Parts Division was established in Renton to supply aftermarket parts sales.

PACCAR Leasing Corporation was formed in 1980 to offer full-service leasing and rental programs through PACCAR's dealer network. A year later, PACCAR became an European truck manufacturer with the acquisition of Foden Trucks in Sandbach, U.K.

PACCAR's new Technical Center opened in July of 1982. Located approximately 65 miles north of Seattle, the multimillion-dollar center underscored the Company's commitment to technical excellence, quality and value in the products it manufactures.

In 1986, PACCAR signed a merger agreement with Trico Industries, Inc., and became a recognized world leader in manufacturing oil field pumps and accessories. In December 1997 Trico was sold to EVI of Houston.

In 1987, PACCAR acquired Washington-based Al's Auto Supply, an aftermarket retailer and wholesale distributor of auto parts and accessories. In 1988, PACCAR increased its subsidiary PACCAR Automotive, Inc. when it purchased Grand Auto, Inc., a California-based retailer of auto parts and accessories. In October 1999, PACCAR Automotive was sold to CSK Auto, Inc.

PACCAR solidified its place in the Mexican heavy-duty truck market by purchasing the remaining portion of its Mexican Operation, VILPAC, S.A. in 1995.

The acquisition of DAF Trucks N.V. in 1996 and Leyland Trucks in 1998 solidified PACCAR's position as one of the major truck manufacturers in the world. DAF Trucks is a Netherlands based truck company with production facilities in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and Westerlo, Belgium. Leyland manufactures trucks in the 6-18 ton commercial segment at its plant in Lancashire, England.

In 1969, 28 acres of land were purchased at suburban Bayswater - 30 kms east of Melbourne for Kenworth Australia. Construction plans were drawn up and by 1970, the 56,000 sq ft factory and office complex was completed to produce trucks initially on a CKD (Completely Knocked Down) basis. Throughout Kenworth Australia's 30 year history in Australia, it has become a major manufacturing force in the Australian, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea markets.

Today, PACCAR Inc is a worldwide manufacturer of light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt, DAF, Leyland and Foden nameplates. It also provides financial services and distributes truck parts related to its principal business. In addition, the Bellevue, Washington-based company manufactures industrial winches.

 

   

For more information please read:

Alex Groner - PACCAR: The Pursuit of Quality

Ed Strauss & Karen Strauss - The Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses

G.N. Georgano & G. Marshall Naul - The Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles

Albert Mroz - Illustrated Encyclopedia of American Trucks & Commercial Vehicles

Donald F. Wood - American Buses

Denis Miller - The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trucks and Buses

Susan Meikle Mandell - A Historical Survey of Transit Buses in the United States

David Jacobs - American Buses, Greyhound, Trailways and Urban Transportation

William A. Luke & Linda L. Metler - Highway Buses of the 20th Century: A Photo Gallery 

William A. Luke & Brian Grams - Buses of Motorcoach Industries 1932-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Greyhound Buses 1914-2000 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Prevost Buses 1924-2002 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Flxible Intercity Buses 1924-1970 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Buses of ACF Photo Archive (including ACF-Brill & CCF-Brill)

William A. Luke - Trailways Buses 1936-2001 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Fageol & Twin Coach Buses 1922-1956 Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Yellow Coach Buses 1923 Through 1943: Photo Archive

William A. Luke - Trolley Buses: 1913 Through 2001 Photo Archive

Harvey Eckart - Mack Buses: 1900 Through 1960 Photo Archive

Brian Grams & Andrew Gold - GM Intercity Coaches 1944-1980 Photo Archive

Robert R. Ebert  - Flxible: A History of the Bus and the Company

John McKane - Flxible Transit Buses: 1953 Through 1995 Photo Archive

Bill Vossler - Cars, Trucks and Buses Made by Tractor Companies

Lyndon W Rowe - Municipal buses of the 1960s

Edward S. Kaminsky - American Car & Foundry Company 1899-1999

Dylan Frautschi - Greyhound in Postcards: Buses, Depots and Post Houses

 



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