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EMS Classics is a feature column I write for Canadian Paramedicine.

It is my attempt at giving the younger generation who work in EMS today, a snapshot into the history of ambulance service.

If you are interested in purchasing the images or the text copyright to any of the columns please email me at EMSClassics@shaw.ca

All proceeds are donated to the Paramedic Association of Canada Benevolent Society.

1973 S&S Cadillac, Columbus Junction, Iowa

Photo Steve Loftin EMSClassics.com Column

1973 S&S Cadillac, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania

Photo Steve Loftin EMSClassics.com Column
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Column 11 October/November 2007

S & S Cadillacs

In 1973 there were three major US firms remaining who manufactured car-based professional ambulances and all three were located in Ohio. Superior Coach was located in Lima, Miller-Meteor was in Piqua, and the smallest of the three, S&S was based in Cincinnati.

Most of the professional car-based ambulances imported into Canada were Superiors, while the rest were Miller-Meteors. Very few, if any S&S ambulances were imported into Canada as they were the most expensive of the three.

S&S was a brand name for the ambulances manufactured by the Hess & Eisenhardt company. The S&S trademark name was derived from the original company name Sayers and Scovill Co. In addition to manufacturing ambulances and funeral coaches, the Hess & Eisenhardt firm was well known for manufacturing highly specialized limousines for Royalty and Presidents around the world.

The two photographs shown are of 1973 S&S Professional High Body Cadillacs featuring 55 inch floor to ceiling headroom. The large chrome light pods over the front windshield and the stainless steel light pods mounted on each side of the raised roof (that protrude to the rear to hold the rear flashing lights) may look unusual if you have never seen an S&S before. But that was likely the point - if you are manufacturing a limited quantity of the highest priced ambulances, you want them to be visually distinctive.

The dark blue ambulance was operated by the Stacy - Lewis Funeral Home in Columbus Junction, Iowa. This car has a professional appearance and must have been striking when the red AMBULANCE roof sign was light up at nighttime.

The red ambulance was operated by the Wellsboro, Pennsylvania Fire Department. They obviously were going for a higher intimidation factor with flags flying, two sirens - one electronic the other mechanical, and five rotating red lights mounted on top of the roof. Steve Loftin of Yukon, Oklahoma from whom I received these photographs, is of the opinion that five rotating red lights mounted on top of an ambulance roof is a certain indicator of too many members on the ambulance buying committee.

Bottom line - working for an ambulance service in 1973, you couldn't work in a better car than an S&S Cadillac!

Copyright 2007 Peter Adsten