On a steamer there are no large side panels to decorate, like on a hand tub. The vehicle has only a framework of metal. This was the Victorian era. Architecture, furnishings, and clothing were all highly decorated. Steam engines had gold stripes and scrolls on every available surface.
The transition from steam to gasoline powered fire apparatus began with steam engines being pulled by motorized tractors. By 1910 motorized fire engines were being produced by all the major manufacturers. Fire engines evolved and improved along with other gasoline vehicles. Fire engines needed to be large, heavy and fast. Several mechanical innovations were developed first on fire engines and then later used on commercial trucks.
This vehicle is an Amoskeag steam pumper with an American LaFrance tractor. The two builders used different styles of decoration. The American LaFrance front section has Renaissance scrolls on the frame, hood, seat and fenders. The rear half has no scrolls. The Amoskeag Mfg. Co. originally made locomotives. Their paint shop had been using a newer style of decoration, popular with many steam locomotive manufacturers. The designs were flatter and more geometric in the Eastlake or Craftsman style.