Friday, September 10, 2010

Trailer Trad Collecting: Diner Antiques

Guys love diners. Everyone has a favorite to kick back on a Saturday morning and ingest a plate of food that he'd never consider eating during the week. Women love them too but many would never admit to loving something so decadent and caloric. To men, great dives and diners are things to be appreciated. Everyone has a favorite diner or place to get that early morning or late night meal. Maybe that's why I like reminders of them so much. Here are some nostalgic collectibles that I hope will remind you of your favorite.
Remember White Towers? Maybe you didn't have those in your town. What about White Castle? Or maybe Little Tavern if you grew up in the Washington, DC area? Archaic relics of the art deco era even back in the 197os, they were comforting, nostalgic stops at the end of long nights of drinking or come-as-you-are retreats with plenty of hot coffee in the dark, pre-dawn hours.

If there is a perfect plate for holding that huge breakfast of salty country ham, three eggs over hard with a tall stack of pancakes, this might be it. It is from around 1950 and was for a restaurant called (appropriately enough) Ham N' Eggs Restaurant. Maybe after enough black coffee, it's slogan 'Ham That Am' would start to make sense.

What's a diner without comfortable stools to sit on? These candy apple red and chrome beauties are my prized possessions. the red 'crush ice' formica top is an original 1950s counter top that I mounted on top of a steel counter base.
Yee haw buck-a-roo! This place setting screams for a rib-eye with a bowl a' chili.
This is a scale model from Plasticville that you would use with your model train sets. These were made in the 1950s and really capture what towns looked like back then. This model is my favorite because of the chrome finish- just like a real diner!

This is grouping of old restaurant silverware. How'd you like to go into Chinatown and eat chop suey at the Shanghai Cafe? Or Clam Chowder at The Crawford House in Boston? Horn & Hardart was a large chain of 'automats' that allowed you pull entrees out of heated drawers with glass windows. They were popular from the 1920s through the 1950s in Manhattan and other metropolitan areas. The Woolworth spoon came from back when they had lunch counters. -Are there even any Woolworths anymore?

I think that this soup bowel also came from a lunch counter, maybe People's Drug (?). -Peoples Drug Store has become CVS but I still sometimes catch myself calling them Peoples.

'Green Ring' diner china has hunter green rings around the edge of plates, cups and every piece of china you can think of. For the novice collector, it perhaps is the easiest to find and is very affordable. It is practical for every day use. The great 'Superior Restaurant' logo on the top of the plate makes this one much more desirable than one with no logo.

These decals are from the 50's or 60's and were
probably stuck on diner or lunch counter windows.
This Coney Island glass dates from 1950.
It can't hold more than six oz. of soda and it probably was
given away as a promotion on the boardwalk. -Must have been quite
a scene in the early 1950s!

Do you remember how absolutely incredible
Shoney's Big Boys were back in the 70's!

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