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The history and future of a pie-truck

The history and future of a pie-truck
The story of this 1914 Ford Model T Pie Truck, bought new by our family, is really the story of Irish/Scottish laborers and indentured servants. These immigrants who made their way to America were farmers, laborers, and veterans of the Civil War.  They started selling pies on Thanksgiving Day 1885 from the back of a wagon in Georgetown, in the District of Columbia, and over the next 30 odd years built the largest pie baking concern on the planet. This 1914 Model T Pie Truck is the history of Pie in America.
At the time of its purchase in 1914, just months after the 25th Anniversary of the incorporation of the Connecticut~Copperthite Pie Baking Company, we had 230 wagons, 600 horses and 15,000 employees baking over 50,000 pies…that were consumed daily! People would stop, stare, and wave at our fancy painted wagons on their way to markets and grocery stores and to deliver pies to our men in service.  But the time was fast approaching, with the modernization of our cities and rural roads and the coming of the automobile to the masses, for our wagons and horses to only be used for special occasions as they were for decades at Remembrance Day, Labor, Trade, Suffrage, Inaugural, and Independence parades. Soon they would all be retired with only one special one going to the Smithsonian Institution. 
In late 1913, Ford Motor Company started delivering running chassis to Martin Truck and Body Corporation in York, Pennsylvania.  Henry Copperthite placed an order for two dozen trucks to be fitted with the “Atlas” body and he and Mr. Stohlman (who had another Bakery in Georgetown) took deliveries in early 1914 and sold many vehicles to the other bakers in Washington, DC. Stohlman went on to set up a Ford and other local car dealerships.  
This 1914 Model T survived, although she was first put into service to delivering pies, because she was replaced as one of the daily delivery trucks by our Ford ½ and ¾ ton trucks. She became a show car and was used for special deliveries and the aforementioned annual parades.  In the early 1930s, our pie empire expanded along with consumer demand for fresh baked, high-quality pies.  That demand reached all the way across the country to California. Members of our family helped establish the Olympic Pie Baking Company in Los Angeles and our Model T was shipped west to become a showpiece and symbol of excellence. It was used in 1932 as a display vehicle as we served thousands of pies to the athletes and the spectators of the Games of the X Olympiad. She was later used in several Rose Bowl Parades before being purchased by a florist who had it as a centerpiece in his flower shop for over 60 years.  When we confirmed that it was one of ours, we purchased her back in February of 2013 and with the help of the Henry Ford, Mr. Art Goldstrom (Goldstrom Auto Museum), and Mr. Gary Cooper and the members of the Southern Nevada Model T Club (SNMTC), she was restored and returned to Washington, DC. 
As a thank you, we presented the SNMTC with a Buffington Chair folding travel chair, which is a very rare car accessory (now).  We cannot thank enough all of those who have participated in the restoration and saving of Fords and our heritage.
She is almost all original only needing the “freshening up” you might expect a 100+ year old vehicle might need.  Her engine was rebuilt and we added 1919 bell housing so that a starter, battery, and generator could be added.  Her carbide headlights have modern lightbulbs in place.  At some point her front axle was damaged, a 1914 one was located so she is virtually period correct and/or can be returned to as she left the factory with minimal effort. Her 100-year-old wheels were fine but for safety concerns, we replaced them with the modern (post-1914) quick take-off wheels.
Words and photos by: Michael C. Copperthite
Proud Great-Great Grandson of Henry & Johanna O’Neil Copperthite and Family
Founders of the Connecticut~Copperthite Pie Baking Company Incorporated in 1888


#3 2017-11-09 13:31
It's a great story and a lovely looking model T. But it occurs to me that 15,000 employees to make and deliver 50,000 pies (daily) is just over 3 pies per employee. Is that really correct?
#2 2017-11-09 06:18
Fun to see mention of the Buffington Folding Travel Chair. They were manufactured in Tioga County NY, home to our family for generations. Other products included "winter" jacks in sets of 4, folding camp stools and buggy "third seats", an x shaped affair that held your bottom above two other seated adults. Buffington became the Stakmore Company, producing thousands of chairs and card tables for new married couples circa 1948 thru 2011. A severe flood of the Susquehanna River in 2011 here at Owego, NY brought an end to the venerable old Company.
#1 2017-11-09 01:23
Absolutely Brilliant story !
Don't you just love their phone number - W29

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