Friday, June 29, 2018

a 1946 Silk City Diner just sold at auction for 336k... and it is loaded with everything needed to be in business, and serve food, from appliances and fixtures to pots, pans, and dishes

The Paterson Vehicle Company built what it called Silk City Diners. Just after World War II, several diner companies offered a "dinette" style to appeal to returning G.I.'s as a low-cost, easy-entry into the diner business as an alternative to their much larger 60-plus-seat diners.

Compared to the competition, Silk City Diners were known for their value, the result of mass production that rival brands failed to embrace. Already positioned as the lowest-cost diner on the market, Silk City Diners also offered a four-year payment plan, at a time when such financing was the exception and not the norm.

While other diner manufacturers came and went – some lasting just a year or two – the Paterson Vehicle Company continued to manufacture diners until 1964 (or 1966, depending upon the source), ultimately assembling around 1,500 of the gleaming monuments to culinary diversity.

After a decade with it's 1st owner it was “traded in” towards the purchase of a Mountain View Diner, much like a used car. The next owner was “Smoky” Wentzell, who set up shop off of Route 40 in  New Jersey until 1989, when the building (but apparently not the property) was sold to Dave Sickler, who relocated the Silk City Diner to the back of his land and proceeded to strip out its furnishings.

Five years later, the neglected diner was discovered by Steve Harwin, a diner expert who runs a diner restoration business in Cleveland, Ohio. Harwin purchased the diner from Sickler, hauled it to Cleveland and carried out a comprehensive restoration.

From there, the diner was acquired by the Dingmans, who enlisted the help of Boston, Massachusetts, rigging and transportation company O.B. Hill to ship the building cross-country and set it up at their New Hampshire estate. Never a commercial enterprise, “Betsy & Mike’s Diner” saw limited use, presumably during family gatherings and parties, though it remained stocked with pots, pans, dishes, and commercial-grade appliances.

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