Toronto is the origin of the Piper businesses and legacy.In the 1870s, there was two businesses run by brothers Harry and Noah Piper. Harry ran H. Piper & Co., and Noah ran Noah Piper & Son Co. with his eldest son Edward. At this time both were selling housewares, stoves and similar hardware. Noah’s store was located at 169 Yonge St. in Toronto. In 1880 Harry closed his business to move into other en devours like politics, and the formation of the Toronto Zoo in 1881.
In 1882, major changes happened for the Noah’s company. Hiram L. Piper, the youngest son of Noah had just turned 22 and became part of the company along with his older brother Edward who by this time had taken the business over from Noah. Noah was 61 and had retired from working. The brothers saw that the business would be better off in the railway supply industry than in housewares and furnishings. Their main directive changed and they started selling and advertising railway lamps and lighting in 1882-83. In 1884, Noah Piper passed away.
The business continued under the Noah Piper & Son name, along with their expansion of related products. Soon the pair had added more and more railway products along with large assortment of nautical lighting, general road and construction lighting and implements and more. In 1901, the business name was changed to the Piper Railway Supply Co. Edward S. Piper was the President, Hiram L. Piper was the Treasurer-Secretary and Herbert E. Piper (Son of Edward) was the Clerk. This change didn’t last long however, because in 1902 the name was changed again to the N.L. Piper Railway Supply Co., presumably in honour of their father who formed the business many years ago.
Big changes would come again 1903, when Hiram L. Piper left the business and Toronto altogether for Montreal, where he established the Hiram L. Piper Co.
When Piper formed the business in 1902, much of the products he started selling was the same as the Toronto business, although with a different maker badge applied to it. This was convenient and easy for them to share product and designs. For many years the two companies closely resembled each other in products. Although as time went on they developed different tooling and changes between the two companies are a lot more evident.
Admittedly I do not know as much about Hiram L. Pipers history, as I am still in the process of researching everything. That said, I know the Piper catalgoue contained many products from headlights, lamps, lanterns, signals, flagging kits, heaters, any tool used on the railway, Hiram L. Piper would have supplied it. The factory was located at 555 Remi St. in Montreal, which still stands to this day.