William Erby & Sons Co. - 1915-1920s - Chicago, Illinois
|The William Erby & Sons Co. of Chicago, Illinois began the production of
funeral coaches and ambulances in 1915.
In 1916 Chicago industrialist (and soon to be Chinese Ambassador) Richard T. Crane Jr. presented a Watseka Illinois hospital with a beautiful Erby Ambulance in honor of his recently deceased grandfather R.T. Crane. This unsual extra-high-roofed black coach featured beautiful draperies and a star-surrounded cross in the window.
Erby continued to produce tasteful and modern looking coaches into the 1920s. Their caralog offered beautiful limousine-style coaches mounted on Cadillac chassis as well as some striking ambulance bodies on light truck chassis. One 1920 ambulance featured a large horizontally aligned oval window made of beautiful beveled glass with a smart red cross sandwiched behind it. Erby continued to offer their 8-column carved-panel funeral coaches through 1922, building one stylish light-gray specimen on a 38hp 138" wheelbase Pierce-Arrow chassis.
The 1925 Erby catalog showed a number of funeral cars that included large windows and fashionable leather-surfaced landau tops as well as an assortment of invalid coaches and ambulances featuring large frosted/etched/or leaded-glass rear windows with side and rear entrances which included all the latest emergency accessories.
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