2011 marks 60 years since the Crown Coach Corporation of Los Angeles, CA, embarked on the construction of fire apparatus. The first Crown "Firecoach" was a demonstrator assigned serial number F-1001 (The F stood for "Firecoach"). A note about the Crown Factory photos in the CFE archives which those of you who are photographers may find interesting: The photos of F1001 under construction and as a demonstrator were taken by famed Los Angeles photographer "Dick" Whittington who was contracted by Crown through early 1954 and took the delivery photos of F1001 to F1017. The Dick Whittington Studio was the largest and finest photography studio in the Los Angeles area from 1924 to 1987. Specializing in commercial photography, the Whittington Studio took photographs for nearly every major business and organization in Los Angeles. Many of his photos are now part of the UCLA archives. The photos with the Crown on a white background were actually high-quality dupes made for use in advertising and promotional materials. In the days before computers, the background had to be painstakingly masked out of copies of the negatives (in this case 8x10 negs) - all done by hand, and it took hours by skilled photo technicians. Mutliple copies were then made for future use by Crown's advertising department, who would send them to printers, newspapers and magazines who would reshoot them as "halftones" and size them as needed for the ad or brochure. Beginning in 1954, Warren Bowen became the official photographer for Crown, shooting most all the Firecoach delivery photos (while Crown apparently went to the "best" photographer in L. A. to promote its new Firecoach line, once it got rolling they apparently no longer wanted to pay top dollar). Mike Britt, CFE Webmaster


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