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Chicago Black over Red

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  • Chicago Black over Red

    Does anyone know the real story or think they know the real story as to why the CFD started using the black over red on there trucks? I know of 2 different theories, one, back in the early 1900 the shop was getting sick of scrubing the black soot off the roofs of the apparatus, so they ended up painting them black. The other is it is in memory of the firefighters of the great chicago fire, black for morning.
    What do think???



    stay safe

  • #2
    Those sound good but are not the real story.

    I can't remember the exact year but CFD purchased a number of cars that had black fabric tops. They painted the new rigs after that to match and a tradition was born.

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    • #3
      black over red

      When we were doing the acceptance of our Luverne pumpers, they (Luverne) were working on some of Chicago's trucks. I asked the rep about the paint scheme. He said he had asked some of Chicago's guys when they did some of the first trucks.

      The black over red is because of respect/mourning for either fallen firefighters or a certain firefighter...cant remember. ALSO, the green light on the ride side of trucks is in respect to a fallen chief? that was an avid boater.

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      • #4
        Nope. close but no cigar.

        The green lights on the station and rigs came from Commissioner Albert Goodrich (1927-1931) he was the owner of Goodrich Transit Co. He did have a nautical background and when he bacame commissioner in Chicago the station and rigs got the red and green lights.

        The first closed cab anything in Chicago were some chief's cars with canvas tops that they couldn't paint. When the city got closed cab apparatus the cabs were painted with the black tops. Chicago didn't have roofs on rigs in the early 1900's

        BTW in the early 80's Commissioner Blair (From LA)tried to get rid of the black tops (only on the left coast) but it didn't take and the tradition continues.

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