Dedicated to preserving the memory of the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Company of Silver Creek, NY.
along with all the other Dining Car builders in Western New York.

 A visual progression through the years of  Ward & Dickinson diners.

1.  1924 The first cars.  The first couple of diners built by the company were wooden affairs.
2. 1925 The first diners that were built in the factory started to look a little more refined, but still had that simple wood lunch car feeling.
3. 1925 A special  diner built to be more of a traveling lunch car.

4. mid 1925 Green glass was added to the upper sash.  Also, metal panels, similar to auto body metal would make its way on to the exterior.
5. 1927 Note the overhang of the roof on the end of the diner.
6. 1927-8 The DeLuxe model had an extra 10 feet.  A kitchen would be placed in that extra 10 feet of space.
7. 1928-9 The Club diner.  Probably very similar to the DeLuxe model.  Most likely a few more refinements to the interior of the diner.
8. 1931? An "experimental" model with a unique roof.
9. mid 1930s Door moves to the middle.  No more kitchen in the last 10 feet. All the space for the diner, to the right of the door would be six booths instead of two.
10. mid to late 1930s? Diner grafts.  Two diners would be attached parallel, lengthwise to give more space. extra diningspace, a kitchen and probably bathrooms would be placed in the back diner.+

Background Information

   Lee Dickinson lived in Silver Creek and made his money on land speculations, especially in Florida and Texas, and oil well drilling.  He was definately the financial backbone of the company.  During the hayday of the company in 1925-1927, Mr. Dickinson was mayor of the village.  Charles A. Ward previously came from Clyde, Ohio to run the Powers Hotel in 1921.  Although, before that, he was in Colorado and West Virginia.  Somewhere along the line he got interested in building diners and got out of the buisness of running the Hotel.

Newspaper Articles   

Brian Butko's "Pressed-Metal Paradise"
 Specific Ward & Dickinson Articles
  Silver Creek Times : diner blurbs
  Silver Creek Gazette : diner blurbs
  Grape Belt & Chautauqua Farmer : diner blurbs

Company Story via Newspapers


  Charles Ward & Lee Dickinson hired Berthel Kofoed to design and then direct the building of three lunch cars, out in the open behind the Kofoed Garage.  The first went to Lockport, NY for Gerald Blanding, the second went to Williamsville, while the third went to Jamestown before ending up in Niantic, Connecticut.  The demand grew so that a permanent site was deemed necessary.  Berthel directed the construction as he was a carpenter by trade.

November 6 : Payne's new lunch car(W&D #4) on the Kraeft Garage property will be opened for business this afternoon.  This car, built by Dickinson & Ward, of Silver Creek, contains many improvements over cars formerly built in this section, and is a step forward in the lunch car industry in Silver Creek.  Regular 35 cent dinners are to be served daily as well as short orders.  Howson coffee, Smith Bros. milk and cream and a good cook assures the public of A-1 service.  Mrs. George Van Dusen of this place will be in charge of the cooking.  Mr. Roy Payne, the owner, anticipates a thriving business and solicits your patronage. - Silver Creek Times  


  The company built 30 diners in 1925.  The diner style was streamlined, and by mid year, the famous upper sash containing swirled green and white stained glass would make its way into the design of the diner.  The diners would also begin to become covered in automobile grade steel due to fire laws in many villages and cities.

January 15 : The first lunch car finished by Dickinson & Ward since moving into their new factory is now on display on the corner of Central Avenue and Main street.  It is a wonder of modern ness and convenience.  It is expected that this car will be shipped to a buyer in Florida. [The very next week, the Grape Belt announced that this diner was instead going to Toledo, Ohio, as it could not fit on a train going to Florida.] - Grape Belt & Chautauqua Farmer

A W&D lunch car built in February, 1925.
March 3 :  Walter Plum has placed a new lunch car on the lot occupied in the summer by the alligator and ostrich farm. - Grape Belt & Chautauqua Farmer

May 12 : The carpenter gang of the Nickel Plate Road, under the supervision of Bob Wasmond has been building this past week, a platform at the station to assist in the loading of lunch cars. - Grape Belt & Chautauqua Farmer

November 12 : Ward & Dickinson Plant Pride of Silver Creek

  On the Banks of Silver Creek an industry destined to be an industrial leader in the community started operations.  Few have noticed the progress of this enterprising concern until within the last few months their product and plant have developed to such proportions and perfection that they are now looked upon as the "Pride of Silver Creek."  With the selection of a master workman and contractor, plans for the first car were made about fifteen months ago and on a small plot of ground in the rear of Peter Kofoed's Case Good's Factory and in the open air, their first car was constructed.  Success crowned their initial efforts and a second order was secured.  Several orders necessitated the construction of a building to house this fast growing business.  Now by virtue of several improvements and additions, the factory stands out as one of Silver Creek's leading industries.   That the people of Silver Creek might familiarize themselves with the construction and possibilities of the Dining Car, the doors of the plant were thrown open to the public for inspection Armistice Day.  Flag raising exercises together with an Armistice Day Program as conducted on the grounds by Don Martin Post, No. 147, American Legion. Dr. Dudley delivered a fine address.  What is believed to be an unprecedented occasion in Silver Creek's Industrial Life occurred when the employees of the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Company so grateful for their excellent treatment and working conditions feted their employers at the First Annual Banquet of the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Company which was held at the Hotel Powers in the evening.  The Dining Room was very appropriately decorated with the Stars & Stripes.  The Tables were beautifully decked with bouquets of poppies.  Miniature Dining Cars served as name cards.  Dainty Flags protruding out of red, white and blue favors added to the picturesque ness.  Covers were laid for 40 guests and a sumptuous three course Chicken dinner was served.  The Silver City Orchestra provided entertainment for the occasion.  Lester Colberg, Past Commander of Don Martin Post, acted as toastmaster.   The many fitting responses from the employees indicated the personal pride, which the employees took in their work as well as their great respect and best feelings for their employees.  The proprietors, C.A. Ward & L. F. Dickinson, were very pronounced in their efforts to provide a factory, working conditions and wages that their employees might support themselves and families and live as American people should live.  A Theatre Party at Geitner's Theatre were the Ten Commandments were exhibited marked the close of an eventful day in the lives of the employees and all were unanimous in pronouncing that it was "a great party." - Silver Creek Times

November 13 :  A completed car ready to send to Miami, Fla., stood in the yard and lady visitors were exclaiming over the conveniently arranged interior.  A double, nickel plated coffee urn, a nickel cream container, roomy ice box and plenty of cupboard and drawer room were all a delight to a housekeeper.  The outside of the car was cream colored enamel over sheet iron.  This factory which was just beginning its existence a year ago when three cars were built at the rear of the Peter Kofoed shop on Central avenue, has increased so fast that their output is a car a week now and orders are ahead of that.  In the spring, they will erect another large building on the lot and the payroll will have fifty names not counting office force. - Grape Belt & Chautauqua Farmer

December 17 : Who’s Who in Silver Creek - A Silver Creek industry which is making a name for itself throughout the country, is The Ward & Dickinson Dining Car business, which has already obtained very favorable recognition.  This firm manufacturers Dining Cars of the modern type, in demand today among the busy folks who must have quick service.  Cars of this type are now used more extensively than ever before, and in many instances take the place of the regulation restaurant, which formerly supplied the needs of the people.  The Ward & Dickinson plant is the premier factory in the making of Ward Dining Cars, where sanitation and attractiveness vie with conditions in many of the high class eating places.    This firm is equipped with the most modern machinery for turning out their product, and the cars made by them have earned a special rating for their convenient features and durability.  These cars are not only fine and sanitary in construction, but wherever you find them, you will find a clean wholesome reputation associated with their management.    That is one factor of the service that goes with them.  These manufacturers are not content with a quality reputation for their product, but sell only on the assurance that the character connected with each car will make it a pleasure for men and women of every class to patronize them.  Everything about the Ward & Dickinson plant indicates an efficiency in operations pointing to real executive ability at the source of things, and this accounts for the rapid progress and growth of the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car business.   What is the cost of these Ward Dining Cars?  How many cars were manufactured here last year?

Answer:  cost $5,500.  and 50 cars built last year.  - Silver Creek Times


  The company built around 65 diners in 1926.  Some of the highlights were the diners sold to a Buffalo(5), Cleveland(10) and Toledo(7) chain of diners.  All of these chains were very short lived, and all of the diners were forclosed back to Ward & Dickinson, and resold, many at higher prices than they originally sold for!

Jan 14, 1926 : In the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Factory, 40 people are now employed as against 10 one year ago. having a weekly payroll of $1,750.00 .- Silver Creek Times.

Big Order for Dining Cars

Mar 25, 1926 : What is probably the largest order for dining cars ever placed in America or anywhere else has been received by Messrs. Ward & Dickinson.  This order is for 30 of the very latest type of Ward & Dickinson dining car, all to be delivered and used at Cleveland, Ohio.  Six of the cars, the first to go forward were loaded by the Pennsylvania Railroad this week.  The Pennsylvania Railroad, which it is rumored will shortly run a new set of double tracks through Silver Creek and on to Irving, was so interested in the shipment that a number of officials gave it their special personal attention, taking photographs and making special arrangements so that the very large number of these cars now leaving Silver Creek will be handled with the greatest expedition.  Four cars for other destinations also have been loaded this week, two for New Jersey, one for Michigan and one for Meadville, PA.  Lee Dickinson of the firm of Ward & Dickinson, has announced that the factory building on the hill will be exactly doubled in capacity at once.  Ground is to be broken for the addition next Monday.  This is certainly good news for Silver Creek.  At the rate the lunch wagon industry has increased in Silver Creek, it bids fair shortly to employ as many men at the large factory which we expect shortly to lose, and all of them at materially higher wages than the average which can be paid for the manufacture of grain-cleaning machinery.  The thirty cars which will be shipped to Cleveland are all to be served by a central cooking station costing $15,000.  The interior of these cars is wonderful, and every citizen should take advantage of Ward & Dickinson's offer to inspect before this record breaking shipment is completed. Johnson & Beebe have done all the electrical work for all these cars, and in addition they are furnishing Kelvinators to take care of the electric refrigeration. - Silver Creek Times

Dec 16, 1926 : The business of the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Co,. has gone forward rapidly.  In two years, this concern has become one of the leading enterprises of Silver Creek; and with its increased plant facilities and its magnificent offices, it bids fair to show a further large increase.  One hundred dining cars have already been completed with 96 in operation. - Silver Creek Times


  During this year, Charles Ward was bought out by Lee Dickinson and went on to start his own company in Clarence/Buffalo, NY.  The company had to resell the diners from the failed chains.  Nine diners were sent to Toronto in another short lived chain.  Currently it is known that at least two diners stayed in Toronto, and the other seven's whereabouts are unknown.

Apr 8, 1927 : Silver Creek, April 6.  Damage at $30,000 was done to the Montgomery Building.  ... the loss ... entire equipment of the Ward & Dickinson offices. ... Lee F. Dickinson of the dining car company said his concern would immediately move one of its lunch cars to the business district and until other arrangements can be made, will conduct their office business in the car. – Chautauqua Farmer & Grape Belt  

May 5, 1927 : The W & D Co. have their 1927 model Dining Car on exhibition in front of their factory on Central Ave. - Silver Creek Times

Nov 17, 1927 : Mr. Lee Dickinson purchased the interest of C.A. Ward.  Mr. Ward's retirement is due to ill health, and is now undergoing treatment at the Ford Hospital, Detroit. - Silver Creek Times

Ward & Dickinson Incorporate

 August 30, 1928 : The lunch car business heretofore conducted by Mayor Lee. F. Dickinson, who is president of the new corporation, and formerly conducted by Messrs. Ward & Dickinson has recently been incorporated, and a considerable expansion of the business is contemplated.   The new corporation will be known as Ward & Dickinson Inc.  This industry has been of the utmost value to Silver Creek during the recent business depression which now happily appears to be about over.  The business has been prosperous, yet, at the same time it has treated its employees and salesmen most liberally.  Net income for a period of years is reported as follows:

Year ended Dec, 31. 1925 -- $60,258.84
Year ended Dec, 31. 1926 -- $99,792.53
Year ended Dec, 31. 1927 -- $78,832.89
7 mo. ended July, 31. 1928 -- $68,791.63

  ward & Dickinson stock advertisement20,000 shares of cumulative preferred stock are offered the public, preferred as to dividends of $2 per share and also as to assets up to $3 per share, are offered the public a $28 per unit of one share preferred and 1/2 share of common stock.  There are 40,000 shares of common stock in the new corporation, both preferred and common being of no par value.  The balance sheet as of July 31, 1928, after giving effect to the acquisition of the business as of that late, and after giving effect as of that date to the application of the proceeds of the suggested new financing as certified to by Messrs Ernst & Ernst, certified public accountants, showed current assets of $505,413.75 and current liabilities of $48,809.57, a current ratio of over ten to one.  The management of the company will be in the hands of Mr. Lee F. Dickinson.  There will be a Board of Directors of five, consisting of Lee F. Dickinson, President, Allen J Diefendorf, of Silver Creek, NY, Philip H. Gerner, of the liberty Bond and Share Corporation, Lars S. Potter, of O'Brian, Potter & Stafford and one other member to be chosen later.  The new issue is offered by the Liberty Bond & Share Corporation of Buffalo, NY and O'Brian, Potter & Stafford, Members of the New York Stock Exchange, of Buffalo, NY.  The Ward dining car, manufactured by this new corporation, has made for itself an enviable reputation in the trade, both as to the up-to-date equipment and fittings of the car, and the large volume of sales built up throughout the country.  This business has rapidly grown until it is now one of the larges and most important in Silver Creek.  It has the best wishes of all in this community for its continued success and prosperity. - Silver Creek Times


March 28, 1930 : Announcement has been made by Lee F. Dickinson that he has resigned as President and Director of Ward & Dickinson, Inc., resignation to take effect April 15th.  His successor has not yet been appointed.  Mr. Dickinson has recently opened a private office in the Montgomery Block where he will continue to manage his personal investments and various other enterprises with which he is connected. - Silver Creek Times

April 17, 1930 : The position of President of the Ward & Dickinson Company, made vacant by the resignation of Mr. Lee F. Dickinson has been filled by Mr. Foster Parmelee of Buffalo.  Mr.Wm. Dickinson has remained with the organization as Vice President and Sales Manager, Mrs. Leon E. Chandler of Buffalo has been elected Treasurer and will reside in Silver Creek.  To succeed A. J. Diefendorf, Director, the Vice President of the Liberty Bank in Buffalo, Morris Perlstine, has been elected.  B. L. Kofoed remains as Superintendent of the factory, which is one of the thriving industries of the village. - Silver Creek Times

May 23, 1930 : Ward & Dickinson have passed 50 cent quarterly dividend due out at this time.

September 8, 1938 : The New Dining Car being erected on the Ward & Dickinson Dining Car Manufacturing Company’s property at the corner of Hanover Road & Central Avenue is owned by J.P. Lown, formerly of Ithaca, NY.
  Mr. Lown was in the dining car business in that city for the past four years, up until two months ago when he sold his car there.
  The New Dining Car was purchased through the local manufacturing company here.  It is a standard model and Mr. Lown is adding a modern up-to-date kitchen to enable him to serve regular meals.
  The Car will be open to the public for business 24 hours a day, in about two weeks. - Silver Creek Times




Wooden Ward Dining Car [PH] DeLuxe Model Later Model
  Wheel [PH] Monitor Windows Brochure DeLuxe
Bradford Graft Twin Diners Take apart (link)  Estella Raecher's Diner


"Ward & Dickinson" Dining Cars are semi-steel Vehicles (not a building), generally accepted as fire-proof in fire limits in all large cities; all electric wiring is concealed in conduit and is State inspected, a Certificate accompying each Dining Car; Built-in Electric Refridgeration, Hot Water Heating System, and one-operation, sanitary Dish Washer makes them the most sanitary and most efficient Dining Car on the market.

The foor, or what maybe clled the platform of this Vehicle, is constructed of 4 x 6 fir timbers, supported by iron channels and three 3/4" trustt rods, so as to convey the load directly on to the 2 1/2 x 2 1/2 - 40x50 carbon steel axles, supported with four Hickory Wheels with 5" iron rim, fitted with Timken Ball Bearings.  On this platform a 1" hard-pine D&M floor is laid diagonally, covered with a heavy flooring felt, which is cemented to the aforesaid floor, and then covered with 1/4" Armstrong Battleship Linoleum.

On the aforesaid platform, the side walls rest, which are constructed on solid posts reaching to the play, covered on the two sides with D&M hard--pine, kiln dried sheathing, with windows and doors glazed, with DS glass inserted.  These side walls are covered on the inside with fire-proof 1/4" Asbestos Tile, and on the outside with heavy, water-proof building paper, and 20guage auto body steel.

The roof is built on these side walls, so as to support the cupola, which is in turn supported with 1/2" truss rods to prevent sagging, conveying the roof load on to the iron beams, which conveys the load to the stud directly over the axes.  This roof is covered on the inside with 20-guage auto body steel and on the outside with a deck canvas, which is laid in paint and covered with four coats of deck enamel on the outside.  The transom windows in this cupola are made to open in, and these together with the ventilating fans give adequate ventilation.

The equipment throughout is of standard design, using a Kelvinator for the Electric Refridgeration; Water Heater and Gas Stoves, made in our factory, are thoroly insulated and counter adjoining covered with toncan and galvanized iron.  The back counter tops thruout the Dining Cars are covered with a 13-guage Apollo Nickel, with asbestos under-lining under the Coffee Urns; main counter and tables covered with 1-1/8" vitrolite Marble; garbage containers are lined with toncan iron and kept out of sight; all outlets of waste water led to sewer under sink at about center of Car; city water led to reservoir in Refridgerator for the purpose of cooling it to the proper degree, thence led to the spring faucet at one side of Refridgerator; balance of equipment as per blue printed specifications and photos.

Silver Creek, N.Y.

Berthel L. Kofoed - Manager Donald W. Kofoed - Secretary
Wesley G. Kofoed - Efficiency Manager Charles N. Smith - Painter
Stanley B. Swift - Machinist Earl W. Schroder - Carpenter
Harold S. Diefenback - Painter John Christy - Book Keeper
Howard Clute - Traveling Salesman Lester Bartlett - Shopworker
Grace Bartlett - Stenographer Henry Hovey - Carpenter
Arcbold Aldsitt - Carpenter Elton Ryder
Lloyd S Belko -Carpenter Romaiu L. Smith - Woodworker
Henry A. Smith - Machinist Charles Jaekle - Painter
Thomas S.B. Nest - Carpenter George W. Sahni - Painter
Warren C. Blanding - Woodworker Charles W. Smith - Woodworker
Franklin Irish - Painter Henry C. Griemisch Jr - Iron Maker
Ray S. Abbey - Carpenter Harold O. Newton - Woodworker
Harry Richardson - Foreman Clement Yonk - Efficiency mgr at "Dining Car"
Will O. Eldridge - Sheet Metal Worker Joseph Castiglia - Carpenter
Fred J. Rian - Carpenter Louis Phelps - Pipe Fitter
Eva Oldenberg - Stenographer William B. Parkin - Stock Keeper
Miss Helen Dickinson - Office  James McBratnie
Lyle Allen Myers - Painter John Meller


  Upstate New York Diner Pages - Now and Then
  American Diner Museum
  Roadside Fans
  Arc Space's diner pictures    - missing 8/1/13


Other Lake Erie Companies

Due to the ever increasing knowledge base of Ward & Dickinson and all the other Lake Erie dining car companies, this part of the page has been deleted, and will solely be located at:

Site maintained by Michael Engle.
email :
mail : 182 Speigletown Rd.  Troy, NY 12182