Why Brown ???

Discussion in 'UPS Discussions' started by Dfigtree, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. Dfigtree

    Dfigtree New Member

    Most have heard this in one form or another but I thought it worth repeating.

    Why Brown?
    Soderstrom is responsible for the famous UPS Brown as the company’s standard color. With the first Model T Ford painted red, it stood out. However, an advertising man told Jim Casey that yellow was the most conspicuous color, so they painted the second car yellow as they wanted to be conspicuous.
    They had different schools of thought when it came to painting the third car, Jim Casey recalled. If they painted it a third color, perhaps the public might think they had a great many more vehicles than they actually had. The other idea was to paint them all the same color to create a standard fleet. After much discussion, Casey remembered, they decided to adopt the conspicuous yellow as the standard color for the fleet.
    Soderstrom knew how the department stores would react to the bright yellow fleet and was appalled when he learned of that decision. He explained that the department stores saw their own vehicles as a form of advertising. For the stores to disband their own fleets and turn their parcels over to a company like Merchants Parcel Delivery, they would want the change to be subtle and scarcely noticed. He argued for a much more conservative color. The other partners, once empowered with that new viewpoint, agreed.
    Soderstrom, in looking for the proper conservative color, discussed the dilemma with an old carriage painter named Charlie Place. Place told him about the recent experiments run by a railroad sleeper-car company named Pullman. Pullman wanted their rail cars to look as clean as possible even when out on the tracks subject to the elements of rain, snow and dust. Their experiments resulted in Pullman Brown, a distinctive color that blended well with the dirt.
    So the first Merchants Parcel Delivery fleet was painted Pullman Brown. During the early years the exact color changed slightly to become the UPS Brown in use today.
  2. diesel96

    diesel96 New Member

    [quote Dfigtree]
    Their experiments resulted in Pullman Brown, a distinctive color that blended well with the dirt. .
    Got to admit....Soderstrom-n-Charlie Pace had some forthsight and vision of how Ups employees appearance would still look good getting down-n-dirty and sweaty-n-gross thru growth and expansion.
  3. DS

    DS Fenderbender

    Dfigtree...that was really interesting,to me anyway,I like to read about history,and why things are the way they are now.Pullman was really into class big time....

    Great Northern Paint Schemes

    Due to numerous requests, I have added a very basic Great Northern Paint Scheme section to my FAQ. This is meant as a GENERAL guide only. For more detailed information:

    Steam Engines:

    Most GN Steam engines were usually black with a large GN logo on the tender. [​IMG][​IMG]
    (please note: the above logos are for general reference only -- colors and logos varied)

    Some steam engines received what was unofficially known as the "Glacier Park" scheme which consisted of a green boiler, white or graphite smokebox and sometimes a mineral red cab roof. Since it was an unofficial paint scheme which differed from shop to shop, there were many variations.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/gn2555.jpg

    In the early 1950's, GN began painting all steam locomotives in basic black up until the end of steam in 1957.

    Diesel Engines:

    From 1926 to 1941, Great Northern's diesel locomotives (mostly switchers) came in basic black. Like the steam engines, they generally had a large GN logo on the side.

    The famous Omaha Orange/Pullman Green/gold stripe "Empire Builder" scheme first appeared on Great Northern's EMD FT diesel locomotives built in May 1941.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/402d.jpg

    In 1962, GN introduced what was dubbed by some the "Simplified Scheme" which appeared only on the diesel locomotives. This consisted of Omaha Orange on top, Pullman Green on bottom and no gold stripe.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/gn_503.jpg

    The idea was to save up to one day in painting a locomotive. The passenger equipment continued to be painted in the original EB scheme. Some "second generation" diesels such as GP30's, GP35's, SD45's, also received orange BELOW the cab.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/gn400a.jpg

    In 1967, Great Northern began their "Big Sky Blue" era. Diesel Engines received Dark Gray on top, a thick white stripe and Big Sky Blue below.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/Builder.jpg

    The BSB scheme continued until the Burlington Northern merger on March 2, 1970 when BN's "Cascade Green" was introduced.

    Passenger Equipment:

    From 1924 to 1947, Great Northern all-steel "heavyweight" passenger equipment consisted primarily of Pullman Green cars with gold leaf lettering. Earlier passenger equipment (mostly wood) will not be covered here.

    1947 saw the delivery of the "Postwar Edition" of the Empire Builder from American Car & Foundry on which the orange/green/gold stripe scheme first appeared. All subsequent passenger car deliveries for various GN trains used this same paint scheme.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/hood5.jpg

    At first, only the streamlined lightweight passenger equipment wore the orange/green/gold stripe. Later on, some heavyweight equipment was painted into this scheme to better match lightweight equipment on trains like the Western Star, Fast Mail and others.
    When the "simplified scheme" (see Diesel Engines above) was introduced in 1962, the passenger equipment kept the original Empire Builder scheme.
    In 1967, Great Northern began their "Big Sky Blue" era. Passenger Equipment received Dark Gray on Top, a thick white stripe and Big Sky Blue below.

    Example: http://www.gngoat.org/Builder.jpg

    The BSB scheme continued until the Burlington Northern merger on March 2, 1970 when BN's "Cascade Green" was introduced.

    Freight Cars:

    Up to 1956, most freight equipment was either brown or mineral red.
    1956-1961 freight equipment was painted "Vermillion Red".
    1961-1967 freight equipment was painted "Glacier Green".
    1967-1970 freight equipment was painted "Big Sky Blue".

    Refrigerator cars (Western Fruit Express and others) were
    painted yellow with brown ends.

    There were also some box cars with orange on top and Pullman green on the bottom which were built and ran from the late 1940's on. Many of these were express boxcars and the orange/green paint scheme helped them blend in better on trains like the Western Star, Fast Mail and others.

    Up to the mid-1950's, GN cabooses were painted a caboose red with yellow lettering.
    From the mid-1950's to 1967, GN cabooses were painted caboose red with white lettering.
    1967 to 1970, GN cabooses were painted Big Sky Blue.
    Between 1953 and 1967, GN painted "Safety Slogans" on the side of cabooses. The slogan generally matched the last digit of that cabooses' number. Thus caboose X-228's slogan was "What's Your Safety Score Today?". The caboose slogans are as follows:
    (source: Page 43 of Scott Thompson's book, "Great Northern Equipment, Volume 3")

    0 - Think Safety Work Safely
    1 - Work Safely Every Day
    2 - You Can't Afford An Accident
    3 - Make Your Way The Safe Way
    4 - The Best Way Is The Safe Way
    5 - Safety Today - Every Day
    6 - Taking Changes Takes Lives
    7 - Your Safety Is Up To You
    8 - What's Your Safety Score Today?
    9 - Be Wise Beware Be Safe

    Almost the 10 point commentary....
  4. dillweed

    dillweed Well-Known Member

    And I thought we wore brown because they treat us like turds. :laugh: