Ahrens-Fox fire engines


Restoring the gold leaf decoration
on Ahrens-Fox fire apparatus.

This company is a descendant of the Moses Latta Company which built the first steam fire engine in America. Chris Ahrens and his son-in-law Charles Fox joined to form their new company about 1904. Their motorized engines can be easily identified by the front- mounted piston pump. A distinctive spherical air chamber crowns the pump.

Restored 1931 Ahrens-Fox being delivered to Great Lakes lighthouse.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.photo showing an earlier style of decoration on a 1918 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.White over red 1925 Ahrens-Fox restored by owner, decoration by Peter Achorn. Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine. 1924 delivery year Brown 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine

The stripes and corner scrolls on Ahrens-Fox fire engines remained the same for many years. The lettering on the hood and hose body were painted in only a few letter styles, usually with a green shade. The look of these fire engines was consistent, though they came in many different colors.

Ahrens-Fox fire engine in U.S. Army.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.two engines before restorationAhrens-Fox frame in Fire Gold workshop before decoration.Standard factory decoration restored on a 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine by Peter Achorn.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine. Restored 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine at Firefly Restoration.

Below is a Yat Ming model of the restored 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine shown above.

Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.



The corner scrolls on Ahrens-Fox fire engines were water- transfer decals. They were lithograph prints with real gold leaf as their base. Lithography allowed for and transparent and blending colors with the gold backing shining through. The original designs were hand drawn by Italian immigrants and beautifully detailed. On most restorations we used reproduction decals made by Ken Soderbeck of Hand-In-Hand Restoration. On a few restorations I hand gilded the scrolls, adding asphaltum shading.

Above and to the left are original decals on a seat and water tank. Below are samples of my hand painted reproductions.

Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine. Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine. 1927 Ahrens-Fox restoration for Bristol PA Ahrens-Fox gas tank end scroll.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine. Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine. Hand painted Ahrens-Fox seat scroll by Peter Achorn.Restored 1927 Ahrens-Fox fire engine in a Bristol PA parade
1925 Ahrens-Fox restoration side detail.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine at Firefly Restoration.old photo of Ahrens-Fox in shop for repair... by an old mechanic.Hood of a Texas Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine. Hood of a Texas Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Hood of a Texas Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.1928 Ahrens-Fox restoration on display in Biddeford Maine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Side view of restored 1928 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Ahrens-Fox wreck in 1922. Hand painted gold leaf scrolls on restored Ahrens-Fox hose body.Ahrens-Fox water tank lettering.1930 Ahrens-Fox front axle with stripes.1924 Ahrens-Fox hood decoration.Seat riser hand painted and gilded decoration on a 1931 Ahrens-Fox engine.1924 Ahrens-Fox restored fire engine, about to be delivered.Hood lettering and hand painted scene on 1924 Ahrens-Fox fire engine restoration.Side detail of 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.1924 Ahrens-Fox piston pump with stripes complete, ready for reassembly.1924 Ahrens-Fox piston pump with gold stripes and nickle plating.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine at Firefly Restoration.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Hand painte scrolls and lettering on Ahrens-Fox seat riser, by Peter Achorn.1931 Ahrens-Fox restoration by Firefly Restoration.1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine restored by Firefly Restoration.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.seat section of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine. Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.Restored lettering on seat of 1936 Ahrens-Fox fire engine.