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Train or Air Travel - Items from the dining car / Dinner Service


Head Bartender
Staff member
Small Town Ohio, USA
Does anyone collect serving pieces formerly used in railway dining cars or aboard aeroplanes?

I'm afraid I haven't any to show, but I'm very much interested in seeing yours!

From the web:



There are china pieces, flatware, "hotel silver" items, etc. Let's see!


I'll Lock Up
Iowa - The Land That Stuff Forgot
That sleepy kitty used to advertise the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O)'s sleeper service. Her name was "Chessie" when introduced in 1932, and by the mid 40s she had a litter, all demonstrating how you could "Sleep like a Kitten" on the road.

The C&O became the Chessie System in '72 and was ultimately absorbed into the current CSX.

My own experience with sleeper travel is that I indeed do "sleep like a kitten": I wake up every 90 minutes or so looking for something to eat, drink, or do.


One Too Many
Midlands, UK
My wife designed the 'tableware' (tray-ware?) for Concorde. It was miniature and lightweight in a 1970s brown and orange stripe to match the seats...


Practically Family
I was given a pair of kerosene lamps that came out of a dining car. I've not seen another pair like them.

Covina, Califonia 91722
I don't have any but there was a Huell Howser (PBS in California) episode that was on the Pan Am Clipper seaplane service. In part of that show they had some of the plates and cups to display.

I am old enough to recall traveling from NY to Denmark on SAS in a Boeing 707 in around 1964 (?) as a little guy and they served the meals on real plates (Ceramic or china not plastic) and the coffee came in real cups I even think they had saucers with the cups. Don't recall the pattern but I recall they were emblazoned with the airlines logo on them. The flat-wear was stainless and Danish Modern if i recall correctly.

I saw a snippet of china from the dining room of one of the gambling ships anchored off LA or Long Beach on a "Things That Aren't Here Anymore" program recently.

It also makes me think of my dad's aunts and cousins , who were famous for absconding with marked table wear from famous places and such.
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I'd love to have a set of this..

You and me both, man--that's the old Family Business you're talkin' about. I'd even be content with repros, as long as I got enough to do a complete table...

That, and the Admiral's china from the USS Missouri (which I did get to eat off of while touring the ship, even if it was only a catered sandwich and chips).


Vintage Land
Guess I am going to have to go back to get 2 plates I think belong on this thread. They have a stylized bird like a Falcon but very Blocky with a block initial on each side of the bird. Ring a bell at all?


I'll Lock Up
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA
I collect Syracuse China, anything that fits my fancy. (I live in Syracuse now, so it is local interest). Syracuse China started out as Onondaga Pottery Company, and changed its name to Syracuse China eventually (you can read more here: http://syracusethenandnow.org/History/SyracuseChinaHistory.htm). Most of early Syracuse China was designed for restaurant and railroad consumption, although they had a line of fine china for household consumption that was stopped in the late 1960s/ early 1970s because it was no longer profitable. So although I do not specifically collect railroad china, I know a bit about them. My pieces are buried (I have one or two railroad), I'll see what I can do later.

The airbrushed platter that was posted by The Conductor appears to be Syracuse, Syracuse China was a revolutionary manufacturer when it came to airbushing underglaze on plates (they were the first manufacturer to do this according to their head historian). During WWII Syracuse designed and manufactured land mines that could not be detected by metal detectors (out of primarily clay). Most Syracuse China is dated, so you can see the year and quarter it was produced. More about this here: http://www.mygrannysatticantiques.com/html/syracuse_china_dating_system.htm

:eek:fftopic:Syracuse was one of the largest manufacturers of restaurant china still left in the USA until their production was moved to China in 2009 by Libby Glass company (their corporate owners). The quarter the decision was made, Syracuse had turned a large profit despite having been deep in the recession (but as Libby stated, more profit could be made overseas). My city lost over 250 jobs, including skilled artisans and crafts people. The majority of the archives were purchased by the Onondaga County Historical Society- they have on record almost every piece manufactured by the company (including railroad designs). I still have a lot of anger and sadness over the closing of the plant.


Practically Family
Inverness, Scotland

I have a small collection of PAN AM items and these economy class dinner ware items form part of that collection. The cutlery stems from the 1980s, the plastic tray is, I guess, from the 1970s while the black & white plastic plates, bowl and coffee cups are from the mid 1960s to very early 1970s period. The glass is also from the 60s / 70s period.


Practically Family
Nashville, TN
This might be a stretch, but it sort of fits and it is a utensil and it has a story... and it floated, at one time:

I recovered this silver plate spoon about 2 miles east of Chicago's Navy Pier in 30 ft. of water in Lake Michigan. Now, before I get cross-wise with the Historic Preservation Agency, I dove this wreck in the late 1960's BEFORE there was a preservation statute. The wreck was the S.S. Iowa, operated by the Goodrich Line. They also operated the Lady Elgin that rolled over in the Chicago River drowning 835 souls.

"On February 4, 1915, the passenger/cargo steamer Iowa was transporting a cargo from Racine, Wisconsin to Chicago during a fluke thaw in the lake ice. They sent a radio message at 4:15 a.m., as she was about three miles out, that she had encountered heavy ice. The ice was especially bad that winter with freezing up to 25 miles from the port. She had been doing okay as she approached the harbor, until the wind shifted then she was crushed by the ice at 10:00 a.m. As the Iowa sank about two miles out, the 1 passenger and 45 crew left the ship and took refuge on the ice. They started walking toward Chicago as rescuers headed to meet them, including city tugboats." (Gothro Phil)
In the 60's/70's this was a fairly popular wreck dive. It was a short ride due east of the city in open, not too deep water. By the time I dove it, it was pretty well picked over and I was lucky to find something in the sand. I'll add that the various items I found diving off the Green Bay peninsula now reside in the Great Lakes Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI.

Anyway, here's my pathetic contribution to the thread:

S.S. Iowa (formerly S.S. Menominee):

Screen Shot 2018-01-20 at 7.58.23 PM.png

The spoon:



I'm beginning to think this will head off to the museum, as well.

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