Louis N. "Tex" Bernhardt's

Photo History of American Ambulance Service


The History of ambulance service in the United States of America has been recorded for over 100 years. The first real uses of ambulances came to be during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860's. Prior to then it was a horse and wagon; whereever it might be found, Funeral Directors entered the ambulance service business simply because they had a vehicle that could transport a patient on a stretcher. Early motorized ambulances began appearing about 1910. My step dad began driving an ambulance in Houston for Vogel-West Funeral Home in 1948 when he came to Houston to go to mortician's school. I was raised as a child living with with my mon and step dad, Bennie D. Wilson. He was a licensed embalmer/funeral director/ambulance driver. We lived in Monroe, Louisiana. I was born in the late 40's. I was raised as a child usually with an ambulance parked in front of the house. Even the front line hearse was used as a ambulance when events required it's use. The funeral home always had one front line ambulance. Mostly the were station wagons with a jump seat and stretcher. They were always fast, and had either a B&M Super Chief Siren or a Federal Q2B. In 1965 a electronic siren was added to the 1964 Mercury Station Wagon Ambulance. In 1966 the funeral homes quit the ambulance service business. From 1966-1972 private ambulance companies served the area. In 1968 and 1969 I operated Ouachita Ambulance.(About 1970 the Vietnam war was in full swing, and seen on TV every day. The first "paramedics" were seen then saving the lives of injured soldiers using many techniques not used here in the USA. Many people asked why we did not have this level of care in the USA. By the late 70's & early 80's true paramedic level EMS had arrived in a few places across the USA. See photos of 1981 for photos of LAFD paramedics answering alarm. They were one of the first true EMS systems in the USA. I sold the company in 1970 and then went to Lake Village , Arkansas where I operated the Chicot County Ambulance Service for the county. I finally ended up in the Freeport, Texas area after purchasing Brazosport Ambulance Service. I operated there and entered into the Houston market in 1980. I sold my Houston Company in 1994, and the operated a transfer service in San Antonio for 3 years. I ended my EMS career after 28 years, and after making 1000's of ambulance calls of every type and deescription. I have a bunch of war stories. I enjoy meeting EMS folks from all over. Over the years I was a member of the American Ambulance Association, Texas Ambulance Association, Texas Association of EMTs, Texas RAC-Houston, American Paramedic Association, and The Greater Houston EMS Council. I am now serving in the Ministry as an staff minister with the Houston Minister's Referral Service, and own a auto export business. I hope all that visit this website will find the hours I put into it over the years to be worth while. I do the best I can in maintaining this site. If you see of find a mistake or a link is broke, please let me know. Opinions or suggestions welcome. Send your photos to be posted & seen by thousands. Thanks for your visit.

Tex Bernhardt


Click on Description to view the Photo


1. 1895 City of New York horse drawn ambulance responds to call in Central Park.

2.1912 Motorized Ambulance that served the Pan American Exposition

2a.1912 Motorized Ambulance (unknow location)

3.1913 The Brown-Meyer ambulance built in NYC.

4. 1913 Ambulance built by White Mgf. Co.

5. 1918 James River Hospital Ambulance and nurse Laura Mae Buck(Noland)

5a. 1918 French Motorcycle ambulance used in WW1

5b. 1919 Los Angeles Advertisment

5.c 1918 American Soldier transports patient on Harley-Davidson MC Ambulance

6.1920 Ambulance on scene in San Antonio, Texas

6a. 1924 Los Angeles Ambulance advertisement. Neat!

7. 1895 City Hospital Horse Drawn Ambulance, Indianapolis, Ind.

8. 1925 City Hospital Ambulance, Indianapolis, Ind.

9. 1919 City Hospital Ambulance, Indianapolis, Ind.

10. 1922 City Hospital Ambulance, Indianapolis, Ind.

11. 1923 City Hospital Ambulance, Indianapolis, Ind.

12.World War 1 - 1918 Motorcycle Ambulance with patient

13.1930 St. Frances Sanitorium, Monroe, Louisdiana & Ambulance

14.1930 Cook Funeral Home Ambulance, Austin, Texas.

15. 1930 Restored Ambulance by Meteror Mfg.

16.1936 Cadillac Ambulance, used in Hollywood Movies.

17. 1937 LaSalle Restored Ambulance at auto show.

18. 1938 Buick Ambulance in font of funeral home.

18a. 1938 Packard Ambulance (Factory Photo).

19. 1939 Ambulance(Adams County, Mississippi)

20. 1942 St. Francis Hospital in Hawaii new Buick Ambulance and crew at hosdpital dock.

21. 1940 Ambulance Fleet, Houston, Texas Vogle-West Funeral Home

22. 1940 Pontiac Ambulance in Chicago after accident.

23. 1941 Ambulance!(Keweenaw County)

24. 1942 Mercury Ambulance(Built for US Military because the wagons were already manufactured)

25. 1942 Mercury Ambulance!(Loaded with 2 patients on stretchers.)

26. 1941 Licoln Ambulance, restored & very beautiful!

27. 1946 Cadillac Ambulance (unknown location)

28. 1950 Dodge Ambulance/police patrol Vehicle Panel Van!

29. 1950 Pontiac Ambulance/Restored, owned by Florida Sheriff Dept.

30. 1951 Cadillac Combination Hearse Ambulance!(unknown location)

31. 1951 Ford Ambulance Ambulance!(unknown location)

32. 1952 Cadillac Ambulance!(unknown Fire Department)

33. 1952 Desoto Ambulance!(on display at ambulance show)

34. 1952 Youngstown FD Ambulance!(FD Photo)

35. 1952 Desoto Ambulance!(Interior for above ambulance)

36. 1953 Cadillac Ambulance!(Advertising Photo)

37. 1953 Cadillac Ambulance!(Advertising Photo)

38. 1953 Cadillac Ambulance in Front of Baltimore Fire Department(need names)

39. 1954 Cadillac Ambulance!(On display at Funeral Directors Convention)

40. 1954 Cadillac Combination Ambulance/Hearse under construction at Superior Factory!(Advertising Photo)

41. 1954 Cadillac Ambulance Interior!(Actress Shelly Winters & Roddy McDowell in the movie "Playgirls")

42. 1954 Cadillac Combination Ambulance by Superior!(Advertising Photo)

43. 1954 Cadillac Combination Ambulance by Superior!(Advertising Photo)

44. 1955 Fiel Fineral Home Ambulances sit out front waiting on a call.(One of my favorites)

45. 1955 Cadillac Ambulance sirs out front Berry Funeral Home!()

46. 1955 Cadillac Ambulance by Superior!()

47. 1956 Cadillac Ambulance by Miller Coach(Advertising photo)

48. 1956 Cadillac Ambulance by Superior!()

49. 1957 Cadillac Ambulance ()

50. 1957 Cadillac Ambulance by Superior!()

51. 1957 Chrysler Ambulance Sharp!(Restored)

52. 1957 Chevrolet Ambulance!(Restored)

53. 1957 Chrvrolet Ambulance Interior !(Restored)

54. 1958 Pontiac Ambulance !(Photo)

55. 1958 Cadillac Ambulance (Advertising Photo)

56. 1958 Cadillac Ambulance by S & S!(Advertising Photo)

57. 1959 Buick Ambulance - Nice!(Restored)

58. 1959 Cadillac Ambulance by Eureka!(Restored)

59. 1960 Chevrolet H Ambulance by E. L. Purdy & Co.(Advertising Photo)

60. 1960 Ambulance- Canada

61. 1960 Buick Ambulance by Flxible!(Advertising Photo)

62. 1962 Cadillac Ambulance!()

63. 1963 Cadillac Ambulance by Superior!(Advertising Photo)

64. 1964 Ambulance!(Factory Photo Beautiful)

65. 1964 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Ambulance !(Station Wagon)

66. 1966 M&M Ambulance!(Factory Photo)

66. 1966 S&S Ambulance!

67. 1967 Cotner Bevington Oldsmobile Ambulance!(advertisement)

68. 1968 Ambulance Brouchure!

69. 1966 English Ambulance!(Bedford)

70. 1970 Chevrolet Suburban Ambulance!(Advertising Photo)

71. 1971 Baltimore Police Chevy Wagon Ambulance!(Responds to call)

72. 1972 International Ambulance! City-County Ambulance Service unknown location.

72a. 1972 Citron(France) Ambulance loads a patient.

73. 1974 Starline Chevrolet Suburban Ambulance(Funeral home ambulance)

74. 1974 Chevrolet Ambulances!(Factory Photo)

74a. 1975 Chandler FH (Florida)ambulance on scene at motorcycle accident.

75. 1975 Ambulance!(Factory Photo)

76. 1975 Cadillac Ambulance with emergency lights flashing!

77. 1976 Ambulance!

78. 1976 Modular Ambulance!

79. 1976 Ambulance Brouchure!

80. 1976 Modular Ambulance!

81. 1978 Ambulance ABC - Texas City, Texas

82. 1978 Dodge Ambulance!(Paramedic,LTD Monroe, La. Roy T. Hendrix,Owner)

83. 1979 Louis Bernhardt in 1978 Dodge Prestidge Ambulance!

84. 1981 LAFD Responds to a call(pumper)!

85. 1981 LAFD Responds to a call(Chevy Ambulance)!

86. 1995 Volunteer Ambulance!

87. 1997 Houston Fire Dept."FRAZER-BILT" Ambulance!

88. 2000 Type 2 Freightliner Ambulance!

89. 2001 Tow new FRAZER BILT ambulances for Acadian Ambulance of Louisiana.

90. How not to park an ambulance!

91.How not to park a fire truck, or If you don't tell the Chief, I won't!

92. 1962 Oneal Funeral Home Ambulance used to transport Lee Harvey oswald. !

93. 1962 Oneal Funeral Home ambulance just sold at austion for almost $50,000.!

94. 1964 - This ambulance was seen worldwide on live TV carrying Lee Harvey Oswald to the Hospital after shot by Jack Ruby!

95. 1870's North Dakota Cow ambulance!

96. 1940's California FD Ambulance!(Restored, shown at auto show)

97. 1917 World War 1 Austrian Bicycle Ambulance transports a patient.!

98. 1966 S&S Caddy ambulance(advertisement)!

99. Brand New 2004 Suburban Ambulance!(Factory Photo)

100. Victory Church "JESUS" Ambulance! Let Jesus be #1 in your life.

101. 1940 Buick Flxible ambulance is the photo on the top of the page!

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Last Update January 08,2006@17:08 hours.