Worcester Historical Museum

Inside of Industry
In the 1940s, local radio station WTAG broadcast a weekly program called "Inside of Industry." It was intended both to highlight local businesses and their contributions to the country's effort in World War II, and to promote the free enterprise system. In 1941 the program featured Henry St. Pierre, who invented an improved gripping chain for tires and launched a successful forging company that is still in business.

Excerpts from the February 16, 1941 broadcast of "Inside of Industry"...

ANNOUNCER: INSIDE OF INDUSTRY. Interesting, human and dramatic glimpses behind the many factory walls of Worcester. Your roving reporters, Holly Wright and Gil Hodges, ready to give you the highlights and the low-down . . . take you now . . . INSIDE OF INDUSTRY.

HODGES: [This is a] story about a man who went in business for himself because he got stuck in the mud.

WRIGHT: Henry St. Pierre, raised on a Vermont farm, was no booster of the country roads. But who was in those days? Driving his father's car to and from the village was something of a time waster. Well, the driving part wasn't, but the hours of pushing and hauling in the thick mud definitely were. . . . St. Pierre found an answer for [this] . . . by inventing an improved gripping chain for tires. It worked so well, he knew he had something. . . . [so he] decided to go into the business of making them after he got a patent on his brainchild.

HODGES: But the war came along to change plans for his immediate future. . . . When it was over, First Lieutenant Henry St. Pierre went back to civilian life with definite plans. . . . to build better chains and to sell them.

WRIGHT: Searching round for a location, St. Pierre decided that Worcester was the place for him. The main reason was that here was the diversity of industry he needed. Here were the forge shops and stamping companies where he could have parts made.

HODGES: In a small shop on Hermon Street he set to work assembling those parts. There were many headaches, but the business grew, until . . . [he] needed more space. . .

WRIGHT: [He] found room in a building of the Rogerts Drop Forging Company . . . . [Later] the St. Pierre Chain Corporation bought the plant. Putting the drop forge hammers to work, [the company] did job forging and added lines of automotive tools, such as pliers, grease bars, tire irons. . . . [Then] Mr. St. Pierre, recalling a favorite Vermont sport, had a bright idea. Why not [make] pitching horseshoes of standard size, shape, and weight? His company became the largest producer of pitching horseshoes in the world, and standardized the game with official horseshoes.

HODGES: And today, the St. Pierre Chain Corporation has grown into a thriving organization of more than two hundred workers. All from a good idea, and the determination of one man to make good. When peace comes there'll be alot of fellow likes young St. Pierre fired with ambition to start out on their own. Let's be sure that opportunity is open to them. For out of the efforts of men like Henry St. Pierre will come the jobs [and] the better living conditions of the future.

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