diners began to appear in cities with factories, like Trenton,
Hackensack, and Newark. Men gathered there before and after
work to drink, talk, and eat. Many did not want women customers,
but some tried to attract them by installing booths because
women didn't like sitting on stools. Cleanliness was not important
at any diner; they often were very dirty, and some didn't even
air conditioning was invented, diners would get hot. When the
Club Diner opened in Bellmawr, waitresses would put cold towels
on their faces to keep from fainting.
diners grew in popularity, the number of diner manufacturers
also grew. Most manufacturers were located in New Jersey.
Jerry O'Mahony worked in Bayonne and was one of the leading
manufacturers from the 1920s to the 1950s. Kullman started
building diners in 1927 in Newark and is the oldest diner
manufacturer still in operation.
who wanted to buy a diner in the 1920s and 1930s could order
one from a brochure and have it delivered in about three months.
A basic Jerry O'Mahony diner with dishes, glassware, and cookware
cost $7,000. Around 1950 the average price was $36,000. Today
it would cost over $100,000, and you don't get any dishes.
diner in New Jersey is considered by many people to be
the first fast food eatery. The White Mana Diner in Jersey
City originally opened at the 1939 World's Fair in New
York. After the fair the owner moved the diner to its current
location. It's designed to move food quickly from the grill
to customers' plates, so they can get in and out. The diner
is designed to look like an igloo, so the cook/owner would
never have to take more than three steps from the grill
to the counter to the cash register.
of the Diner