1934 view of the house Peter Achorn would buy 52 years later.

about Fire Gold

In 1972 I began my career in a four-man shop that restored antique cars. The phase of the restoration process that I enjoyed the most was the detail painting, pin-striping, and lettering. This led me into the sign painting profession. In the early 1980's I worked for a wagon shop in Arizona. I found the traditional decoration on horse drawn vehicles more interesting than modern pin-striping.

Peter Achorn at his early job painting antique cars in 1972.Tenants Harbor with the coastal steamer at the dock.

    I moved to Maine in 1986. My first workshop was attached to a 135 year old sea captain's house. This was a wonderful place to work on antique fire engines. It got quite crowded if I was decorating more than one engine at the same time.

seal of the State of Maine. Dirigo, "I direct"My first house and shop in Tenants Harbor.Tenants Harbor today.The old shop full of fire engine parts.Parts piling up in the old shop.Main Street in Tenants Harbor back in sepia times.Working on two restorations at once.Tenants Harbor boat yard on right. I've painted names on boat there for 30 years.

    In 2001 I built a workshop specifically designed for hand painting on vehicles. The layout is loosly based on a 19th century paint shop I saw in a book. There are two large drive-in bays and a clean room for gilding smaller parts. All the paint rooms have an air ventilation system. The storage room is as big as my entire previous shop.

New Fire Gold paint shop in 2002.American LaFrance decoration by Peter Achorn.2002 in the new Fire Gold paint shop.the sign out front of Fire GoldWorking with the big doors open in the summer.Rolling desk and paint table in the Fire Gold shop.American LaFrance gold frame decoration

    My present shop is just two miles from my former location. I left downtown Tenants Harbor for the woods. The photo below was taken early in the morning on September 11, 2001.
    It was a powerful day to be raising a roof...

A.L.F. scroll 6:00 AM on September 11, 2001... just before the world changed.1865 hose carriage with builders.Restored wheel decoration from 1860 1927 fire engine restoration in Fire Gold shop for decorating.Ahrens-Fox fire engine parts being gilded at Fire Gold.Marshall Point lighthouse down the road in Port Clyde, Maine.Gilding room in paint shop.Large bay in paint shop.Owls Head lighthouserestoration of a 1860 Cowing hand engine.
Andy Swift and Peter Achorn in 1995 with a 1875 Clapp & Jones steamer.

    In 1985 I helped on the restoration of a steam fire engine for my local fire department. The following year I move to Maine and began working with Andy Swift of Firefly Restoration. His restorations of fire apparatus are as fine as any I have seen. Most of the fire engine restorations on these pages are projects from his shop. Andy and Ken Soderbeck have been generous teachers to me. There is a separate page on this site for each of them.

Ken Soderbeck and Andy Swift in the steam.Vesuvius restoration in the Fire Gold shop nearly done.1925 American LaFrance restoration in front of the Fire Gold shop building.Engine Boy makes an entrance.
Thomaston harbor back in the day.A road in town, long ago. My sign for the post office.Peter Achorn putting fire engine shading on a lobster boat name.Mouse island causway and lobster fleet.Painted boat name Star Fisher done on railway  Wings of Grace built by French & Webb and lettered by Peter Achorn 1923 Tenants Harbor, burning the wrecks. a post card of Tenants Harbor from above

Tenants Harbor, Maine

Fog rolling out.

    Peter Achorn deep in thought in his research library, 1952.

Peter Achorn has given up smoking but still reads, though not in that chair.
All photos, artwork and information are copyrighted by Peter Achorn and Fire Gold.  © 1999-2015 all rights reserved.
Any perceived copyright infringements are unintentional and will be removed upon request.