In regard to lettering, I have noticed that if you run into a modern piece of apparatus with two tone shading (usually green, less frequently blue) you can almost always trace back to a point where the department had an Ahrens-Fox- other builders would occasionally shade this way, but by far it was most common with A-F. Ditto the practice of plates with city officials listed, occasionally you see that on current pieces and it was common practice with A-F, probably as a sales tool. As far as the ornamentation on early Seagrave (up to mid-thirties) apparatus, I have heard or read that some of the workers in Seagrave's lettering shop were German immigrants who had worked in the pottery decorating industry in their native land, which would make sense as the ornamentation on many Seagrave pieces was very floral and highly stylized, and the Seagrave plant is just down the road from Columbus' German Village neighborhood. Of one thing there is no doubt, Seagrave definitely was more apt to put a lot of gold leaf decoration on their rigs. In closing I would observe that the current practice of using vinyl or mylar lettering is fine, but design has utterly died as a result. Lettering and decoration is now perfect, even, symmetrical and without quirks or flaws where ornamentation of years ago was done by hand and looked much better,mainly because it was done to satisfy the artist's eye, and if it was done by a good practitioner, with a good eye for design it ALWAYS looks better than computer cut & that is because what is technically correct and what is pleasing to the eye are often two different things when it comes to aesthetics.