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Vintage Silverplate California Zephyr Sugar Tongs

Vintage Silverplate California Zephyr Sugar Tongs


Produced in the 1950's for use on board the legendary California Zephyr trains, this lovely and rare Silverplated Sugar Tong is side-marked with the California Zephyr's art-deco CZ logo. In very good vintage condition, this silverplated piece from the famed railroad's dining car has made a storied journey from the Golden Age of Rail Travel to today.

The original, legendary California Zephyr trains ran between Chicago, Illinois and Oakland, California during the final glory years of the great American railroad.  These sleek and powerful stainless steel streamliner trains with their Vista-Dome cars, were the height of luxury, speed and glamor.  For the inaugural run in 1949, every female passenger was given a corsage of "silver" and orange orchids that were specially flown in from Hawaii.  The women who worked as car hostesses on this train were known as "Zephyrettes".  The elegant train sped across the route's 2,525 miles in a short 2 1/2 days.

On March 22, 1970, the last westbound California Zephyr train left Chicago, thus ending one of the most glamorous and fabled eras of American rail travel.

Extremely limited quantities and subject to prior sale. Sugar tongs are sold individually. In very good vintage condition. Circa 1950. Approximately 4 1/8" in length. 

Perhaps nothing is as romantic as the great American railroad.  The sound of a steam whistle blasting from a locomotive roaring through the nighttime countryside is deeply etched upon the American memory. As the frontier of the American West was expanding, the "ribbons of iron" criss-crossed this country from sea to shining sea.

Considered the Golden Age of rail travel, the 1920s to the early 1950s was a time when railroads were seen as the height of luxury. Before the 1900s, train travel was often associated with the wealthy but with the turn of the century, the rails became the property of everyone - a shared experience and means of transportation; a time when just about everyone said, "Let's take the train!"

Although the decade beginning in the late 1920s saw most of the world gripped by the Great Depression, that same time period produced some of the most distinctive design styles of the 20th century.  Indeed the very spirit of the Golden Age of rail travel is captured in the timeless aesthetic of the trains from that era. With names such as the Zephyr, the 20th Century Limited, and the Mercury, these brilliantly engineered locomotives were named to evoke a feeling of speed, comfort, and modernism. Panoramic windows captured the views of booming cities, deserts, vast landscapes, and seemingly painted mountain ranges. The art deco furnishings of plush chairs, and lounges with sleek metal framework was on trend with Hollywood glamor. Images of movie stars ready to board and riding in style were often used in the advertisements for the railroads.

Following World War II, the lure of the automobile and the speed of air travel combined to spell the demise of the great American railroad.  The once-mighty passenger trains could no longer compete, and by the late 1950s many of the famous trains had been withdrawn from service and sold abroad or scrapped.  Gone, but never forgotten, we are proud to offer a magnificent collection of rare silverplate holloware and elegant damask linens produced exclusively for use on board the dining cars of the great American railroad.  All aboard!

A dining car in the 1920s was typically staffed by a steward who seated patrons and oversaw the dining services, a team of three cooks working in the galley, and two or more uniformed waiters on staff. Meals were made with the freshest meats and vegetables. Roasts, steaks, fish, and chops were cut and prepared entirely on-board. With seating limited to just a portion of the dining car, there were usually two to three seating times for lunch and dinner. The dining services on board the trains were far superior to the travel accommodations we know today and a typical dining car was stocked with as many as 2,500 pieces of china, silver, glassware, and crisp, fresh linens.


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Vintage Silverplate California Zephyr Sugar Tongs
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