Liberty steam fire engine in Reading PA

more Steamers

Restoring the gold leaf decoration
on antique steam fire engines...

Building a steamer required a lot of equipment and different talents. A hand tub could be built and repaired by a much smaller crew. The construction of steamers led to fewer manufacturers with larger factories. Each factory would have a painting crew that was usually hired full time. As time passed these painters developed distinctive styles of decoration for each brand. Each individual engine would have unique details of color and designs, but the overall look of a LaFrance was different from an Amoskeg or Nott.

Two steam fire engines, one restored by Firefly RestorationWilliam Penn Engine Co.1907 Amoskeag steam fire engineLooking down on a restored 1907 Amoskeag steam fire engine1907 Amoskeag steamer wheels after gold was applied. Front end of 1907 Amoskeag steam fire engine Engraving of Silsby steamer showing stripes
Seat decoration restored by Peter Achorn on Fob with celluloid image of fireman
Ornament on air chamber tube restored by Peter AchornWater tank with date 1907 and flags on 1907 Amoskeag steam fire engine Running gear with gold stripes on 1907 Amoskeag steam fire engine Finished restoration at the Owls Head Transportation MuseumFame hose company, instituted Jan. 1st 1839.

     On a steamer there is no large side panel to decorate, as there is on a hand tub. The vehicle has only a framework of metal. This was the Victorian era. Architecture, furnishings, and clothing were all highly decorated. Steam engines had gold stripes and scrolls on every available surface.
    As I apply the decoration, these massive machines begin to appear lighter and more refined. The finished piece is a sophisticated balance of power and style. They may look too busy to modern eyes, but they were the height of good taste at the time.

badge for New Haven FDThree horse hitch on Washington St.1910 Nott steam fire engine in Tucson Rodeo Parade 1910 Nott steam fire engine decorated by Peter Achorn in 19851910 Nott steam fire engine decorationGold decoration on wheel of 1910 Nott steam fire engine
1902 photo of steamer with gold scrolls on frame in Cambridge.Coal box number 2 on 1911 American LaFrance steam fire engineSteamer wheels preped for gilding in Fire Gold shop.1911 American LaFrance steamer stripes and lines on spring. 1911 American LaFrance steamer front end assembly.
watching a steamer from a distance.Button steamer decorated by Ken Soderbeck, lettered by Peter Achornclose-up of letters showing double outline Coal box lettering on Button steamer from Waterville MEself propelled steamer rounding a corner
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