Below is a photo from the 1920's of this hose reel in a parade. The hose has been replaced with flowers for the parade. This carriage belonged to a volunteer fire department in NYC before the Civil War. After the war the department was disbanded and in 1871 the carriage was sold to Ansonia CT. It has hand carved wood foliage and eagle heads, delicate iron work, elaborate etched glass lanterns and a stuffed eagle on top.
The vehicle below is a speedster made from the tractor of an American LaFrance ladder truck.
The scrolls and stripes on this hose cart are done with gold colored paint made from bronze powder in varnish. It gives the effect of metal without the expense of gold. It was seldom used by fire engine factory paint shops, but is often seen on repaints of fire apparatus.
In 2002, soon after the September 11, 2001 attack, Firefly Restoration restored a piece of FDNY's historic apparatus. The Fire Department chose to have a hose wagon restored for use as a funerary caisson. Many people from across America donated their time and talents to the project. Ken Soderbeck of Hand-In-Hand Restoration designed and executed most of the decoration. I worked on the draw pole, fenders and a few other small details. It was a meaningful experience and I was grateful to participate.
For the 50th anniversary of the FDNY fireboat John D. McKean, the crew of Firefly Restoration traveled to New York City. We spent a few days working on the historic vessel. My part was to repaint the Maltese cross on the smoke stack.