Part 2: FMCA Sets Traditions in Early Years
Editor’s Note: This is the second of two installments of a story about the formative years of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013. The following excerpt was written by the late Bob Richter, FMCA founder, and is excerpted from the January issue of the FMCA e-newsletter.
Homes of FMCA
FMCA has had several “homes” in its first 50 years.
FMCA’s original office was in Hanson, Mass. (shown below). In this photo are Charles Owens (left), F44, with Kenny Scott and his father, Ken Scott, F63.
The Scott home, in an eastern suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio, served as headquarters from 1965-67.
The “ivy-covered cottage” — located on Beechmont Avenue near the Scott residence — was FMCA’s rented home from 1967-70.
FMCA’s next rented office was a few miles west of the cottage in a shopping plaza on Beechmont Avenue.
A fund drive to pay for FMCA’s permanent national office at 8291 Clough Pike enabled the association to buy the building without a mortgage in 1976.
To accommodate mail-forwarding operations and provide campground space, in 1989 FMCA purchased a facility on Round Bottom Road in Newtown, a few miles from the Clough Pike office.
The association’s iconic logo designates the national headquarters at 8291 Clough Pike today. The building was expanded and updated in the mid-1980s.
History Of The FMCA “Goose Egg”
Family Motor Coach Association’s oval, goose-egg-shaped membership emblem has long been a part of the organization’s history. Members are provided these plates to display on their motorhome. Quite often, this membership emblem is the tool that initiates a conversation between motorhome owners at a campground or other location. It also promotes public awareness of FMCA.
New members of FMCA have been issued various types of coach plates over the years.
The first 10,000 members of FMCA, from 1963 to 1973, received cast-aluminum plates that had their membership number stamped on them in raised letters.
In 1973 the association began supplying numbered decals, made of weatherproof vinyl, to new members in lieu of the cast-aluminum plates. This change saved on the cost of material and prevented a membership dues increase. Metal plaques still could be ordered, for an additional charge to the member.
Also in 1973, FMCA’s leaders approved a provision for a “second generation” coach identification plate and number assignment. This allowed sons or daughters of active or former members to use their relatives’ membership number and request the addition of the letters “S” or “D,” centered below the number on their emblem. The current FMCA Bylaws expands upon this action by indicating, “FMCA shall, upon request, issue the original F number to sons, daughters, grandchildren, or parents of active or former members with the addition of an ‘S,’ ‘D,’ ‘G,’ or ‘P,’ respectively, centered below the number on the emblem.”
Switch To Acrylic
In June 1982, with the assignment of membership F44000, acrylic identification emblems were introduced. These new membership plates were injection-molded out of clear acrylic (Plexiglas). The membership number was engraved on the reverse side of the emblems and then decorated by hot stamping the black, and spraying white and then silver.
In 1994 FMCA was advised that the mold for the smooth acrylic plates had worn out. A new mold would have cost $30,000 to make, so FMCA decided to look for a new source material.
Beginning Oct. 1, 1994, with the assignment of F185627, FMCA began issuing plates made of Lexan synthetic resin. The Lexan plates looked more like the original cast-aluminum goose eggs, but the letters and numerals were white and more visible. In 2012, as a cost-saving measure, FMCA began issuing plates that feature a high-gloss vinyl decal affixed to a Lexan plate.
FMCA membership numbers are never reissued and remain assigned to the original member. So, motorhomers who cease to be FMCA members keep their identification plates and can use them if they rejoin later.
These identifying numbers and plates are integral parts of FMCA, and members are asked to display their FMCA plates with pride.