01/19/11 136 W, 1 I - + 2 - 3 Vintage Roanoke and Battleship Gray

From a reader, here's a historical treat from VAFireNews.com. Apparatus buff and photographer Mike Sander shares his pictures of RFD apparatus from the 1950s through the 1970s. Most of the shots were taken in 1973 and 1974, and include a number in beautiful battleship gray1. One example is below, Engine 18 as a 1946 Seagrave. See more and the entire article.

Mike Sander photo

1Why battleship gray? War-time restrictions on paint, presumably. Chrome was also absent from many pieces of apparatus built during World War II, including the bells. And speaking of battleships, did you know the Blues Brothers recorded a cover of Sink the Bismark for the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers? The song was cut from the final cut. The footage was subsequently lost, but an audio recording remains. Listen on YouTube.

I could DEFINITELY see them doing that at Bob’s Country Bunker (“What kinds of music do you *usually have here?” “Oh, we got BOTH kinds; country AND western!”) But, being as that’s my favorite movie EVER, I can see why they would’ve cut the scene. It really wouldn’t have fit. “Stand By Your Man” was MUCH more funny.
Duda - 01/20/11 - 11:54

As for the paint job, I would think that that grey paint would be more in-demand than red. You know, since they were building ships like crazy and all. But I defer to someone that knows more than I.
Duda - 01/20/11 - 11:55

Duda, agreed on the paint, but I have heard the same story about the battleship gray. You would think that there would be less of it…As I hear it, it happened that it was the easiest to get because everyone was making it. The other colors were harder to get. Something like that…
Rhett Fleitz (Email) (Web Site) - 01/20/11 - 18:02

War restrictions were tough. In Raleigh, we couldn’t build a new Central Fire Station for several years. Nor was new apparatus available, so we bought a used one from Farmville, a 1916 or so ALF as the first Engine 6.
Legeros - 01/20/11 - 19:05

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