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.
Below is a Yat Ming model of the restored 1925 Ahrens-Fox fire engine shown above.
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.
In the 1910s, before using decal corner designs, the Ahrens-Fox factory paintshop gilded and brush painted each corner ornament. The design was built from individual brush strokes, just like hand painted lettering. A factory painter would apply the gold leaf one day to the dozens of corner scrolls. The next day the asphaltum shading was added over the gold. Next came the black outlines and the green areas. Finally, the thin white highlights were brushed on each scroll.