Valentine Williams

Valentine Williams

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Valentine Williams, the son of G. Douglas Williams, Chief Editor of the Reuters News Agency, was born in 1883. After being privately educated in Germany, Williams joined Reuters as a sub-editor in 1902.

Williams joined the Daily Mail in 1909 and over the next few years reported on various international stories including the Portuguese Revolution in 1910 and the Balkan Wars (1912-13).

On the outbreak of the First World War, Williams was sent to the Western Front. He disagreed with what he called "the unenlightened and unimaginative censorship" exercised by the Army's senior commanders. He joined the Irish Guards as a Second Lieutenant in 1915, and saw action at the front in the Somme sector, where he was seriously wounded in 1916. Williams was also awarded the Military Cross.

It is too soon to write in any detail about the operations, as fighting is still in progress. The attack at Loos completely surprised the Germans, according to the prisoners taken there, with many of whom I spoke this afternoon. They describe our bombardment as "unspeakable" and say the first thing they knew about the assault was the appearance of lines of British troops streaming away over their trenches to the right and, the next moment, the inrush of a horde of khaki-clad figures upon their trenches from three sides. They declare that their ammunition ran out and their rifles became useless, so they were obliged to surrender.

Don Valentine

Donald Thomas Valentine (June 26, 1932 – October 25, 2019) was an American venture capitalist who concentrated mainly on technology companies in the United States. [1] He had been referred to as the "grandfather of Silicon Valley venture capital". [2] [3] The Computer History Museum credited him as playing "a key role in the formation of a number of industries such as semiconductors, personal computers, personal computer software, digital entertainment and networking." [4]

101 Prospect Avenue, Northwest
Cleveland, Ohio 44115-1075

Telephone: (216) 5662000
Fax: (216) 5663310


Public Company
Incorporated: 1884
Employees: 17,886
Sales: $3.1 billion
Stock Exchanges: New York
SICs: 2851 Paints & Allied Products 5231 Paint, Glass & Wallpaper Stores

The Sherwin-Williams Company, "America's Paint Company," is the largest producer of paints, varnishes, and specialty coatings in the United States. It also produces related home improvement items, motor vehicle finishes, and refinish products, as well as industrial finishes for original equipment manufacturers of metal, plastic, and wood products. Its products are sold through 2,046 company-operated stores, as well as mass merchants, independent paint and hardware stores, and a direct sales staff.

The story of The Sherwin-Williams Company began in 1866, when Henry Sherwin used his life savings of $2,000 to buy a partnership in the Truman Dunham Company of Ohio. The firm was a distributor of pigments, painting supplies, oils, and glass. In four years, this original partnership was dissolved, and Sherwin organized a paint business with new partners, Edward P. Williams and A. T. Osborn. The new business was called Sherwin-Williams & Company. In 1873 the company purchased its first factory, on the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio. The factory manufactured paste paints, oil colors, and putty. The company's first manufactured product, Guaranteed Strictly Pure Raw Umber in Oil, came off the line in that year.

In the paint industry in the 1870s, painters had to buy the ingredients and mix their own paint each day. At this time prepared paints--paints that were ready-mixed--were concocted and sold by individual dealers who mixed a few popular colors. These premixed paints were available only during the busy spring painting season. Moreover, in those days, oil and pigment had to be ground together into a paste. The paste was then thinned with more oil, thinners, and dryers. Customers brought their own containers to stores and filled them as needed. Paints had to be stirred continuously to prevent the pigment from sinking to the bottom of the container. In addition, the paint had to be used quickly or it dried out. For these reasons, paints were seldom shipped far from where they were made. The first patent for ready-mixed paint was taken out in 1867 by D.R. Averill of Newburg, Ohio, improving upon the existing mixing processes.

In 1877, Sherwin-Williams & Company developed the first patented reclosable paint can. This revolutionized the way paint could be used, and more importantly, reused over a period of time. During the 1880s the company continued to develop new products for the paint industry. At the beginning of the decade it improved its liquid paint formula. After two years of test marketing under the Osborn label, it introduced SWP--Sherwin-Williams Paint--the first mixed paint to receive considerable public acceptance.

In 1884 the partnership was dissolved and Sherwin and Williams incorporated as The Sherwin-Williams Company. In the same year, Inside Floor Paint was introduced. This new product encouraged the notion that specific paints should be used for specific purposes. During 1884, Percy Neyman was hired by Sherwin-Williams as the first paint chemist in the industry. Neyman contributed greatly to Sherwin-Williams research and development of new products for the paint industry.

Sherwin-Williams had always been committed to finding and developing new markets for paint products. In 1888, the company saw the possibility of marketing paints and coatings to the railroad industry. It opened a manufacturing facility in Chicago to serve the Pullman Company, and to better serve the farm-implement and carriage industries. In those days, Pullman required as many as 20 coats of highquality finishes for the elaborate interiors of the Pullman cars. Sherwin hired George A. Martin, an ambitious young man, to run the new facility. Martin later served as the third president of the company.

Marketing and advertising quickly became critical to the growing company. Seeing the need to make people aware of its products, in 1890 the company formed a department devoted exclusively to advertising and to publicizing Sherwin-Williams and its products. George Ford was hired to head the department. A year later, a sales agency was opened in Worcester, Massachusetts, which was the model for the company's successful concept of the "company store." In 1905, the "Cover the Earth" trademark was first introduced.

Walter H. Cottingham became the second president of the company in 1909. Sherwin then became chairman of the board of directors. Cottingham strove throughout his career to inspire his workers to attain their maximum potential. Cottingham was adept at launching successful sales campaigns. He was also known as a writer and orator and wrote a collection of "inspirational" editorials and papers on a variety of subjects.

In the early part of the 20th century Sherwin-Williams began acquiring other companies to meet the increasing demand for a variety of different paints and related products. In 1917, under Cottingham's guidance, the company bought the Martin-Senour Company, of Chicago. Three years later, in 1920, the company went public, selling $15 million in preferred stock. Proceeds from the sale were used to purchase the Acme Quality Paint Company, of Detroit a new plant in Oakland, California and to expand various existing facilities.

When Cottingham retired in 1922, Martin--who had become vice-president and general manager in 1920&mdashøok over the leadership of the company. During Martin's tenure as president, Sherwin-Williams developed nitro-cellulose lacquer and synthetic enamel. These products made possible the brilliant finishes that covered cars during the 1920s. Such products also reduced from 21 days to a few hours the drying time of newly painted cars.

George A. Martin, like Cottingham, believed in strong advertising for his company and its products. He sponsored the "Metropolitan Opera Auditions of the Air," a successful radio program that ran for years. Also during Martin's presidency, Sherwin-Williams bought several other high-quality, nationally known companies. Among them were The Lowe Brothers Company, of Dayton, Ohio, and The John Lucas Company, of Philadelphia. Both were innovative companies.

Martin's vision focused on finding ways to expand the company and increase its profits. He believed that Latin Americans would respond favorably to high-quality paint products. In 1929 Sherwin-Williams bought the Bredell Paint Company of Havana and enlarged it. Martin expanded the company's manufacturing facilities and established plants in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.

For Sherwin-Williams, the early 1940s brought an opportunity to participate heavily in America's World War II effort. Sherwin-Williams, along with other paint companies, supplied camouflage paints for the armed forces, and it was said that the U.S. invasion of North Africa was delayed while waiting for the delivery of camouflage paints with which to provide proper field cover. The company also received a commission to load shells, anti-tank mines, and aerial bombs. To meet this demand, the company constructed and managed a plant in Carbondale, Illinois.

In 1940, Arthur W. Steudel, a Cleveland native, succeeded Martin as president. Steudel worked his way up in the company through the dye, chemical, and color division. He had many visionary ideas about paint retailing and merchandising, and the company's profits increased under Steudel. He served as president until 1961, at which time he became chairman and chief executive officer.

Sherwin-Williams continued to introduce new products to the consumer during this time. Kem-Tone, the first emulsion-based, fast-drying paint for the do-it-yourself market was introduced in 1941 and met with remarkable success. Kem-Tone helped deal with the raw material shortage that the nation faced after the war. That same year, the company introduced the Roller-Koater, the first applicator that was not a brush and was later developed and refined into the paint roller commonly used today. Soon thereafter, the company introduced Kem-Glo, a porcelain-like enamel and Super Kem-Tone, a high-quality interior paint that had a synthetic rubber content. The prefix "Kem" indicated that the paints were "chemically involved materials." Product development, crucial to the expansion and success of the company, continued into the 1960s, as the company gained a new president, E. Colin Baldwin, and was listed for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange in 1964. In 1971 Sherwin-Williams introduced POLANE, a coating designed to efficiently cover metal surfaces but found to work exceedingly well on plastics as well.

In the 1970s, however, the company began to experience substantial losses. In 1977, on revenues of $1 billion, Sherwin-Williams reported a loss of $8.2 million. Dividends were suspended, and the company's borrowings increased dramatically during this time. In the period from 1967 through 1978, in fact, Sherwin-Williams's long-term debt increased from zero to $242 million. In addition, by 1978 Gulf & Western Industries held 13.47 percent of Sherwin-Williams' outstanding stock, and rumors of a takeover loomed.

Shifts in management also occurred. Walter O. Spencer, CEO since 1971, resigned in 1978 and was replaced, on an interim basis, by William C. Fine. The company found a new permanent leader in January 1979, when John G. Breen, formerly an executive vice-president for Gould Inc., a Minneapolis battery manufacturer, became president and CEO. In a short time, Breen managed to bring the company back to financial stability and avert the threatened Gulf & Western takeover. Breen first persuaded Gulf & Western Chairman Charles Bludhorn to sell his company's Sherwin-Williams shares, convincing Bludhorn that Gulf & Western's holdings were a liability and that Sherwin-Williams would be unable to recover financially while the threat of takeover loomed. Bludhorn was likely swayed to a greater extent by the fact that his Sherwin-Williams shares were no longer a sound investment. Next, Breen reshuffled Sherwin-Williams management, replacing several vice-presidents, decentralizing responsibility, and discontinuing about 1,000 slow-selling products. Breen also cut the company's long-term debt. In the first half of 1980, Breen's policies yielded a 57 percent improvement in earnings over the same period the year before. In 1979, Sherwin-Williams sales were $1.19 billion, and by 1985 they had reached $2.17 billion. Moreover, net income rose from six cents to $1.60 per share between 1978 and 1985. Breen served as president until 1986, when he became chairman, retaining the office of CEO. Thomas A. Commes became president.

Acquisitions in the 1980s included the popular Dutch Boy line of paints and its manufacturing facilities, as well as Dupli-Color Products Company, which specialized in automotive paints. In 1984, to reach markets outside the continental United States, the company entered into a partnership known as BAPCO with C-I-L, Inc. of Canada, a subsidiary of England's Imperial Chemical Industries PLC. The new concern was eventually acquired in its entirety by C-I-L, as Sherwin-Williams gradually divested its chemical operations.

During this time, sales of house paints decreased, due largely to the use of alternative surface finishes, such as pre-finished aluminum and plastic surfaces, in the construction of homes. Sherwin-Williams responded to this trend by going after market share and substantially increasing its advertising budget from $4 million in 1989 to $125 million in 1990. This strategy was well-timed, as increasingly popular discount and home decorating chains that catered to the do-it-yourself market preferred to rely on one or two major suppliers that sold national brands and provided national distribution, rather than hundreds of smaller, local paint companies.

Moreover, in 1990 Sherwin-Williams added the well-known Krylon and Illinois Bronze lines of aerosol paints to its holdings. And with the 1990 purchase of the architectural coatings business of DeSoto, Inc., Sherwin-Williams gained its biggest chunk of market share. It paid $67 million for the business, which traced its roots back to 1910 and eventually became as one of the largest paint manufacturers in the country, supplying private label paints for such chains as Sears and Home Depot. The addition of DeSoto made Sherwin-Williams the world's largest supplier of custom paints for the private-label market. The following year, the company purchased the Cuprinol brand name of premium stains, liquid sealers, and other coatings products from the Darworth Company of Connecticut, as well as two coatings business units from Cook Paint and Varnish Company.

The acquisitions paid off well for Sherwin-Williams. According to a 1992 article in Business Week, industry sales fell 0.2 percent in 1991, due to national economic recession, but revenues at Sherwin-Williams were up 2.9 percent, excluding acquisitions. For the first two quarters of 1991, in fact, the company's profits climbed 23 percent to $68 million on sales of $1.37 billion. As Sherwin-Williams celebrated its 125th anniversary that year, it had become one of only a few companies to lead its chosen industry for more than a century.

By 1993, Sherwin-Williams was reporting earnings of $165 million on sales of $2.9 billion, and its balance sheet was almost debt-free. Indeed, in the 15 years since Breen took over, revenues more than doubled, while profits increased almost tenfold. In new product development, the company introduced Ever-Clean, a premium latex interior wall paint with superior stain resistance and washability characteristics. The new paint was launched in 1994 as part of a national advertising campaign which was the largest in the company's history. Also that year, Sherwin-Williams acquired the assets of The Old Quaker Paint Company for an undisclosed amount. This purchase brought Sherwin-Williams into the residential construction market of southern California.

To support the company's growth and keep its operations running at top performance, Sherwin-Williams had a software designer help develop an automated control system for its distribution centers. Known as the Automated Warehouse Control System (AWCS), the system became fully operational in all its distribution centers in 1994. Using bar-code technology and portable radio frequency, it significantly improved the efficiency and accuracy of processing orders. For example, workers received electronic orders via a hand-held machine incorporating a radio, a computer terminal, and a scanner. The computer sent orders ranking each tasks priority and recalculated the list each time a task was completed. When trucks were unloading at the warehouse, the computer determined where to put the goods based on what space was free at that moment, eliminating the need to hold a particular slot empty until a truck was unloaded.

The early and mid-1990s saw a decline in new housing starts and thus proved challenging to the construction and building materials industries. Sherwin-Williams, along with most companies competing in that business sector, felt the effects in the form of reduced stock prices. Nevertheless, Sherwin-Williams remained in a strong financial position having avoided long-term debt and gained market share, the company was able to respond effectively to the shifting economic environment and was still intent on serving as "America's Paint Company."

Principal Subsidiaries: Contract Transportation Systems Co. Dupli-Color Products Company Sherwin-Williams International Company DIMC, Inc. Interiors Guild, Inc. MTM Development Corporation Sherwin-Williams Acceptance Corporation SWIMC, Inc. Sherwin-Williams Canada, Inc. 147926 Canada Inc. The Sherwin-Williams Co. Resources Limited (Jamaica) Sherwin-Williams (Caribbean) N.V. (Cura&ccedil) Sherwin-Williams (West Indies) Ltd. (Jamaica) Sherwin-Williams Foreign Sales Corporation Limited (Virgin Islands) Sherwin-Williams do Brasil Industria e Comercio Ltda. (Brazil) Compañia Sherwin-Williams, S.A. de C.V. (Mexico) Sherwin-Williams Cayman Islands Ltd. (Grand Cayman).

Dyer, Davis and Kathleen McDermott, America's Paint Company: A History of Sherwin-Williams, Cambridge, Mass.: Winthrop Group, Inc., 1991, 109 p.
Feldman, Amy, "The House that Jack Rebuilt," Forbes, April 25, 1994, pp. 91--93.
Harrison, Kimberly P., "Sherwin-Williams to Stash $250MM for Acquisitions," Crain's Cleveland Business, September 27, 1993, p. 1.
Madigan, Kathleen, "Masters of the Game: CEOs Who Succeed in Business When Times are Really Trying," Business Week, October 12, 1992, pp. 110--16.
Schlenberg, Fred, "Cleveland, Part I: 'Not Just Great, But the Greatest'," American Paint & Coatings Journal, January 5, 1987.
------, "Cleveland, Part II: Sherwin, Williams . and Fenn," American Paint & Coatings Journal, January 19, 1987.
------, "Cleveland, Part III: Era of the Empire Builders," American Paint & Coatings Journal, February 2, 1987.
"Sherwin-Williams Acquires Old Quaker Paint Co.," American Paint & Coatings Journal, September 12, 1994, p. 17.
Shingler, Dan, "Cash-Rich Sherwin Ripe for Deal-Making," Crain's Cleveland Business, May 29, 1995, p. 2.

Source: International Directory of Company Histories , Vol. 13. St. James Press, 1996.

The Valentine martyrs

The volume encompassing Feb. 14 contains the stories of a handful of “Valentini,” including the earliest three of whom died in the third century.

St. Valentine blessing an epileptic. Wellcome Images, CC BY

The earliest Valentinus is said to have died in Africa, along with 24 soldiers. Unfortunately, even the Bollandists could not find any more information about him. As the monks knew, sometimes all that the saints left behind was a name and day of death.

We know only a little more about the other two Valentines.

According to a late medieval legend reprinted in the “Acta,” which was accompanied by Bollandist critique about its historical value, a Roman priest named Valentinus was arrested during the reign of Emperor Gothicus and put into the custody of an aristocrat named Asterius.

As the story goes, Asterius made the mistake of letting the preacher talk. Father Valentinus went on and on about Christ leading pagans out of the shadow of darkness and into the light of truth and salvation. Asterius made a bargain with Valentinus: If the Christian could cure Asterius’s foster-daughter of blindness, he would convert. Valentinus put his hands over the girl’s eyes and chanted:

“Lord Jesus Christ, en-lighten your handmaid, because you are God, the True Light.”

Easy as that. The child could see, according to the medieval legend. Asterius and his whole family were baptized. Unfortunately, when Emperor Gothicus heard the news, he ordered them all to be executed. But Valentinus was the only one to be beheaded. A pious widow, though, made off with his body and had it buried at the site of his martyrdom on the Via Flaminia, the ancient highway stretching from Rome to present-day Rimini. Later, a chapel was built over the saint’s remains.

Weather in Valentine

Location of Valentine on Route 66

The weather in Valentine is sunny and dry. Summers are hot and winters cold. It has around 280 sunny days per year.

Average summer temperature: High (Jul) 97° (36.1°C) and low 58°F (14.4°C). Average winter temperature: Low (Jan) of 27.8°F (-2.3°C) and high 53°F (11.7°C).

Not much snow falls in Valentine, some 3 in. (7.5 cm). Rainfall is around 11 inches (280 mm) yearly, with summer being the rainy season.

Tornado risk

As it is west of the Rocky Montains there are virtually no tornados in Valentine.

Tornado Risk : read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.

Getting to Valentine

You can reach Valentine driving along Historic Route 66 in Arizona from Selimgan (east) or Kingman (west) and reach those towns via I-40.

Map of Route 66 in Valentine, AZ

Check out Valentine on our Route 66 Map of Arizona, with the complete alignment and all the towns along it.

Map with directions showing U.S. 66 through Valentine (from Hackberry to Truxton).

Below you will find more information on the different Route 66's alignments through Valentine, from 1926 onwards.

David “Carbine” Williams (1900 – 1975)

Born in the small town of Godwin (Cumberland County) in 1900, David Marshall “Carbine” Williams was the creator of the M-1 Carbine, the U.S. Army’s favorite semi-automatic rifle during World War II. General Douglas MacArthur praised the M-1 Carbine as “one of the strongest contributing factors to our victory in the Pacific” (N.C. Historical Marker Program).

In the early 1920s, the moonshine trade flourished throughout North Carolina. David Williams, both inventive and entrepreneur-minded, entered the illegal liquor trade in 1921. Shortly after he started making moonshine, law enforcement officers seized one of Williams’s stills. However, the raid ended with the death of Deputy Sheriff Al Pace.

Although Williams affirmed his innocence until his death, the twenty-year old was sentenced to thirty years at the Caledonia Prison for the second-degree murder of Deputy Pace. Williams soon became a trusted inmate and he was allowed to work in the prison blacksmith shop. While working in the shop, Williams invented his first firearm from pieces of leftover metal. Colt Firearms representatives visited Williams in prison to examine the gunsmith’s inventions.

In 1929, Governor Angus McLean reprieved Williams of his prison sentence. Williams continued inventing firearms after he was released at a small shop in his hometown of Godwin. The United States soon entered World War II, and the military was hard pressed to equip soldiers with weapons to contest German armaments. The Ordnance Department hosted a competition for a light rifle to be used in the war effort.

Constructing a light rifle for Winchester, Williams entered the military’s competition in 1940. Revamping and modifying his Carbine Caliber .30 M-1 over several weeks, the gunsmith eventually finished his prototype. The military selected Williams’ M-1 as its weapon of choice, and between 1941 until 1945, over six million M-1 Carbines were constructed in the United States.

In 1975, Carbine Williams passed away at Dorothea Dix Hospital. In addition to inventing the M1-Carbine, Williams obtained over 50 firearm patents, and he designed gun mechanisms for the major gun manufacturers of Colt, Remington, and Winchester. His iconic life was the basis for the MGM film, Carbine Williams. Released in 1952, the movie featured Jimmy Stewart as the North Carolina inventor.


“Inventions.” William S. Powell, ed. Encyclopedia of North Carolina (University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, NC 2006).

He was born in New York City on February 9, 1862. [1] He graduated from Columbia University in 1883. He was a fellow in letters there from 1883 to 1886, and an instructor in Anglo-Saxon and the Iranian languages from 1887 to 1890. After study at the University of Halle from 1887 to 1889 he became an adjunct professor of English language and literature. In 1895, he was appointed public lecturer and also appointed to the newly founded professorship of Indo-Iranian languages at Columbia University, where he remained until 1935.

He was well known as a lecturer on English literature and the Orient. In 1901, during a visit to India and Ceylon, he received special attention from the Parsees, who presented to Columbia a valuable collection of Zoroastrian manuscripts in recognition of the instruction there given by him in their ancient texts. In 1903 he made a second journey to the Orient, this time visiting Iran. He also visited Central Asia sometime before 1918.

Jackson's grammar of Avestan, the language used in the Zoroastrian scriptures, is still considered to be the seminal work on the topic. Jackson was one of the directors of the American Oriental Society.

  • A Hymn of Zoroaster (1888)
  • An Avesta Grammar in Comparison with Sanskrit (1892)
  • An Avesta Reader (1893)
  • Avesta, the Bible of Zoroaster (1893)
  • Zoroaster, the Prophet of Ancient Iran (1898)
  • Die iranische Religion (1900)
  • Persia, Past and Present (1906)
  • Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian MSS. in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’ (1913)
  • From Constantinople to the Home of Omar Khayyam (1911)
  • A Descriptive Catalogue of the Persian Manuscripts Presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by A. S. Cochran (1914), with A. Yohannan [2]
  • Early Persian Poetry (1920)
  • Jackson, A V Williams. A History of India. (Editor). Full text online at (All nine volumes in HTML form, complete, chapter-by-chapter, with all illustrations, footnotes and a combined index)

He made many contributions to the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

Zach Williams

Based in Jonesboro, Arkansas, singer/songwriter Zach Williams led the Southern rock band Zach Williams & the Reformation before turning toward inspirational music in his solo career, scoring a Christian hit single with 2016's "Chain Breaker." After capturing a live set in a Nashville prison, he delivered his sophomore solo album, Rescue Story, in 2019.

Born in Pensacola, Florida, Williams was raised in Jonesboro, Arkansas. In 2007, he formed the Reformation with guitarist Josh Copeland, guitarist Robby Rigsbee, bassist Red Dorton, and drummer Creed Slater. Over the next five years, they toured the South and, on occasion, Europe. They cut two independent albums -- 2009's Electric Revival and 2011's A Southern Offering -- before disbanding in 2012.

After the breakup, Williams turned to religion, becoming the worship leader of the Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro in 2014. He continued to work on music, now singing inspirational songs. In 2016, he signed with Provident's Essential imprint and released "Chain Breaker," which became a Christian hit. The Jonathan Smith-produced Chain Breaker EP arrived in September of that year with a full-length album of the same name following in December 2016. Williams next turned his musical ministry to a Nashville-based prison where he and his band performed an acoustic set for the inmates that was released as the 2017 EP, Survivor: Live from Harding Prison. The full-length Rescue Story, his proper follow-up to Chain Breaker, arrived in 2019 and featured a guest spot from Dolly Parton. Early 2020 saw Williams issue the single "Empty Grave."

Legends of America

Image from Valentine Manufacturing Catalog, courtesy Kansas State Historical Society

Before the days when busy streets were lined with the fast-food chains of McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and Taco Bell, there were literally hundreds of all American Mom and Pop Diners. One of the most popular varieties of these old-time diners was the Valentine Diner.

Webster’s Dictionary defines a diner as “a restaurant in the shape of a railroad car.” In the case of Valentine Diners, as well as many others, this was true as the manufacturing design reflected the style of railroad dining cars.

The lunch wagon, the predecessor to the diner was invented in 1872 by Walter Scott who later became a commercial manufacturer of lunch wagons in 1887. The lunch wagon idea caught on so quickly that many towns passed ordinances to restrict their hours of operation. As a result, many operators looked for a more permanent solution turning old railroad cars and obsolete horse-drawn streetcars into diners. New manufacturers of these cars also cropped up at an amazing pace. These new and innovative “dining cars” were constructed with indoor bathrooms, tables, and repositioned counters to accommodate a larger food selection.

During the early days, most of the dining car manufacturers were located on the east coast, producing shiny stainless steel structures. Because of their distant location, diners didn’t catch on in the west for many years. However that all changed with Arthur Valentine came to Kansas in 1914. A natural salesman, he first started selling cars in Great Bend, then sometime around 1930, he and his wife, Ella, opened a restaurant in the small south-central town of Hazelton, Kansas.

The Shamrock diner in Hutchinson, Kansas, was one of the first Valentine Diners, courtesy Kansas State Historical Society.

Enjoying their successful business, they soon expanded to include two more restaurants in Wichita and Hutchinson, Kansas. These restaurants were the predecessor of what would become known as the Valentine Lunch System. These original small diners operated in buildings that Valentine had either purchased or leased. At the same time, a company called Ablah Hotel Supply was making prefabricated lunchroom buildings, and around 1932, they made one for Arthur Valentine. Valentine was so impressed that he began working for Ablah, becoming a salesman for their buildings.

Eventually, Valentine owned and operated as many as 50 of these lunchrooms. However, by the end of the decade, Ablah discontinued the manufacture of pre-fab building and allowed Valentine to take on that part of the business.

In 1938, Valentine arranged with the Hayes Equipment Manufacturing Company to build his sandwich shops, but the arrangement was short-lived when material shortages created by World War II shut the operation down. Frustrated, Valentine became a Boeing inspector during the war, but shortly after it was over, he recreated the business, calling it Valentine Industries.

Valentine continually tinkered with new ideas to achieve business success. In addition to selling his diners fully equipped, it could also be bought gutted with only a few shelves for other purposes such as liquor stores and barbershops.

Valentine Diner Catalogue Cover, the 1970s.

But, his true success was the Valentine Lunch System. These eight-to-ten-seat diners could be operated by just one or two people. The little square-sided structures were designed to be easily moved on a flatbed railroad car. Inside, stools were placed around a counter. Some designs had pick-up windows. The catalogs reinforced the idea that an individual purchasing one of these diners could make a substantial living and that they could add additional units if they desired. Ordering the diner through a catalog, the struggling entrepreneur could buy the boxy little diner for just $5,000 with monthly installment payments of $40.00. Arriving complete with grill, counter, and stools, the operation could be unloaded, set upon a concrete slab, and be operational within hours.

In an industry where nearly all major diner manufacturers were on the East Coast, Valentine soon became very successful as the diners were shipped all across the country, particularly to small towns, where they were sometimes the only restaurant available.

Sadly, Arthur’s health began to fail in 1951, just as Valentine Diners were becoming extremely successful. His involvement in the company thereafter diminished until his death in 1954. The business was sold to the Radcliff family in 1957 and continued to operate until August 1968.

Thankfully, the American diner has seen a resurgence in popularity in the last several years. For those of us who would prefer a pleasant smile and a great grilled burger, to the manufacturing-like mentality of many of the fast-food places, this is a great relief.

Many of these small diners continue to exist today all over the country. Here is a list of those we’ve found on Route 66:

Twin Arrows, Arizona – Located between Winslow and Flagstaff, Arizona on I-40 is the old Twin Arrows Trading Post and Cafe. Located at exit 219, this was a long-lasting Route 66 icon. Sadly, it is closed and vandalized today.

Twin Arrows Valentine Diner in Arizona by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

The Highway Diner on Route 66 in Winslow, Arizona by John Margolies, 2003.

The old Highway Diner on route 66 in Winslow, Arizona has been repainted and appears to serve as a business building today. Photo courtesy Google Maps.

Winslow, Arizona – This old Valentine Diner, located at 320 East Second Street, has been called the Highway Diner, Monday’s Cafe and Irene’s in the past. The 9-stool diner probably opened about 1946 after it was ordered by Mayor J. Lester Allen. It also has been called Monday’s Cafe and Irene’s. The building received a grant for its restoration in 2008. However, today, it has been entirely repainted and appears to be some sort of business building.

The Stork Cafe was an original Valentine’s Diner in Winslow, Arizona. Photo by John Margolies, 1979.

Winslow, Arizona – This 9-stool Valentine Diner was once located at 114 East Third Street in Winslow, Arizona. It was originally owned by Cecil McCormick and opened as the Birthplace Diner in about 1950. Through the years, it was called the Pit Diner, One Spot Grill, the Stork Cafe, and the Santa Fe Diner. Reports suggest that it was sold and moved to Oregon. By John Margolies, 1979.

Chandler, Oklahoma – Located at Seventh and Manvel Streets this diner was originally located in Leedy, Oklahoma. Patina Properties purchased in 2003 and moved it to Chandler. The company had plans to restore the 1958 “Little Chef” model 10-stool diner is currently but that never happened. In 2018, it was sold again and moved to Guthrie, Oklahoma, where once again, plans are being made to restore it.

Clinton, Oklahoma – The Route 66 Diner is part of the Route 66 Museum complex located at 2229 West Gary Boulevard. Originally opened in 1956 in Shamrock, Texas , the owners M.L. and Alta Porter ran the cafe until 1964. The museum acquired it in 2002, restored it, and placed it on the museum grounds at Clinton.

The Red Top Valentine diner in Edgewood, New Mexico, photo courtesy Jerry Ueckert.

Edgewood, New Mexico – This old Valentine Diner once stood in Magdalena, New Mexico before it was purchased by Jerry Ueckert and moved to Edgewood. The diner had extensive damage and Jerry is currently in the process of restoring it. It is located on Route 66.

Albuquerque Valentine Diner

Albuquerque, New Mexico – This old Valentine Diner, now located at Girard and Central (US66), is now used by the Albuquerque Police Department. It once served Route 66 customers at 8th and Central as the “Albuquerque Diner.” Later it was donated to the Albuquerque Museum, who allows the Albuquerque Police Department to utilize it as a substation.

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated August 2020.


A stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen is given as a Christmas present to a small boy. The boy plays with his other new presents and forgets the velveteen rabbit for a time. These presents are modern and mechanical, and they snub the old-fashioned velveteen rabbit. The wisest and oldest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, which was owned by the boy's uncle, tells the rabbit about toys magically becoming real due to love from children. The rabbit is awed by this idea however, his chances of achieving this wish are slight.

One night, the boy's nanny gives the rabbit to the boy to sleep with, in place of a lost toy. The rabbit becomes the boy's favourite toy, enjoying picnics with him in the spring, and the boy regards the rabbit as real. Time passes and the rabbit becomes shabbier, but happy. It meets some real rabbits in the summer, and they learn that the velveteen rabbit cannot hop as they do, and they say that he is not a real rabbit.

One day, the boy comes down with scarlet fever, and the rabbit sits with him as he recovers. The doctor orders that the boy should be taken to the seaside and that his room should be disinfected — all his books and toys burnt, including the velveteen rabbit. The rabbit is bundled into a sack and left out in the garden overnight, where he reflects sadly on his life with his boy. The toy rabbit cries, a real tear drops onto the ground, and a marvellous flower appears. A fairy steps out of the flower and comforts the velveteen rabbit, introducing herself as the Nursery Magic Fairy. She says that, because he has become real to the boy who truly loves him, she will take him away with her and "turn [him] into Real" to everyone.

The fairy takes the rabbit to the forest, where she meets the other rabbits and gives the velveteen rabbit a kiss. The velveteen rabbit changes into a real rabbit and joins the other rabbits in the forest. The next spring, the rabbit returns to look at the boy, and the boy sees a resemblance to his old velveteen rabbit. The boy ends up enjoying seeing the rabbit out in the wild.

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