The two restorations below are Maxim Motor Co. fire engines. The bold "knot" corner design was a popular motif on horse drawn commercial vehicles in the 1800's. The fancy thin white lines also refer back to earlier vehicle decoration. This truck was well built and modern in every way mechanically. The decoration was added by painters with aesthetics from an earlier decade.
I spoke once with an old painter from the Maxim factory. He grew up in the town where the factory had always been, and learned from the old paint crew. The style he used in the 1950s still had remnants of 19th century coach painting techniques and designs. The engine below is a 1923 Maxim. It has distinctive chevron decorations on the fenders, and a nice use of black stripes throughout.
Below are photos of a 1917 Garford fire engine. Few Garford engines have survived and researching the decoration turned up only a handful of photos. From these pictures I got some hints of the Garford style.
This 1932 Ford was originally decorated without using any gold leaf. A standard stripe layout was followed with black paint replacing the gold stripes. The black stripes were outlined with gold paint made from bronze powder. The thin lines that run beside the stripes are silver. It is quite a pleasing effect.
When this 1921 Seagrave engine arrived for restoration, it had many coats of varnish on top of the original paint job. The varnish had darkened over eight decades, and the surface appeared to be a dull tan with gold and brown stripes. When the varnish was removed, we found a light gray body. The brown stripes were actually a lavender-gray color. What a surprise. I gilded and painted the stripes and lines on this vehicle. The fancy ornaments were done by Ken Soderbeck of Hand-In-Hand Restoration.