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Silver in the Diner

A Guide to Dining Car Silverware

The definitive new guide to railroad dining car silver hollowware is now available to order. Thoroughly researched and beautifully illustrated, this 398-page hardbound book has over125 railroads represented, along with sleeping car companies, private cars, interurbans, and depot restaurants. Chapters cover the history of the dining car, the rise of the commercial silverware industry, makers' marks and date codes, and a chart of railroad dining car equipment from 1885 to 1970. It has color and black and white photos of silver pieces along with historic car photos, silver makers' catalog pages, menus,

advertising, recreated table settings, and copious information on each pattern. A must for the railroadiana collector or train buff.

Buy it for $79.95 plus $7.00 shipping

(Domestic U.S. shipping only)


Take a look inside . . .


America’s romance with rail travel spanned a century and a half, during which time enjoying a meal in the dining car as the scenery rushed by was the epitome of luxury travel. Many elements made that experience special--food that compared with the finest restaurants and hotels, service without peer, and, not in the least, the elegant table settings that made every traveler feel like royalty. The elaborate and finely crafted silver service that graced the tables, virtually unknown by today’s traveler, was an essential ingredient, found on dining cars throughout the nation. The fundamental characteristics of quality manufacture and design endured until the end of privately owned rail passenger service. Silver in the Diner

tells that story.

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Read the reviews . . .


"John M. Fowler has presented us with an outstanding volume, entitled: Silver in the Diner--A Guide to Dining Car Silverware. This book should be of interest to both readers and collectors of dining car silverware, whether they have a casual interest or an extensive collection. . . . I would highly recommend this volume as a 'must have' reference book for collectors of dining car silver. In addition, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about dining car usage, whether it be for historical information or just for better understanding the scope of dining on rails." Wesley Ross, editor, "The Railroadiana Express," Summer, 2019 Read the review


What readers are saying . . .

"Your masterpiece arrived today. You deserve a gold star and a Pulitzer for this adventure in publishing . . . The book will soon become the standard by which all other railroad books will be judged. The graphics, photos, and descriptions are beautifully done . . .  I like the way the book takes you through the development of the dining car and the factual descriptions of the silver pieces."

"I just wanted to thank you for sending a copy of your amazing book and congratulate you on a job well done!!!! It is beautiful."

"Your book is fabulous! It reads like a PhD dissertation in the opening. I learned so much from your opening information that I never knew before. Every little caption from every little page is chocked with information."

"I have Everett Maffett's classic books on dining car silverware, "Silver Banquet" and "Silver Banquet II," but your book is far more comprehensive and informative. And the photos, the history, and the related ephemera are superb!"

"Book received today. I could go on for pages . . . it is outstanding. You have truly set a new standard for the hobby.  So well-written, superb photography, great layouts . . . I will spend hours and hours with it. Thanks so much!"

"Your beautiful book arrived this week. Worth the wait. Lots of information to absorb and great pictures of exotic and not so exotic pieces."

"You are a pearl diver for gathering interesting facts. I have just started reading - the visuals are a zinger of entertainment even if you're illiterate. Excellent printing and binding."

"Your book on dining car silver is extraordinary, a real masterpiece."

"It is a great work -  a "coffee table" book." 

". . . the book is FABULOUS – so much more than we expected." 

"Your wonderful book arrived today. Thank you! GREAT job with super photos and info."

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About the author . . .

John Fowler has spent his professional career in the field of historic preservation. He majored in history at Princeton University, graduating with honors, and received a law degree from Yale Law School. His professional career has been with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, an independent federal agency charged with advising the President and the Congress on historic preservation matters. Since 1997 Mr. Fowler has served as the executive director of the agency. In his professional life, he has written, lectured, and taught widely in the field of historic preservation law and policy. Mr. Fowler has been active in the field of railroad history since 1980, with a primary interest in collecting artifacts associated with the history of railroad dining car service. He is a native and lifelong resident of Washington, DC.

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ISBN 978-1-7923-0103-2

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