In 1872, at age 17, Walter Scott started selling food from a horse-drawn wagon to late night crowds and shift workers in Providence, Rhode Island. Despite the fact that his clientele was rough and rowdy, his business boomed and inspired copycat wagons. The industry eventually evolved into what we now know as the American diner. Because the early wagons, and later the diners, catered to nightlife and working class, they gained a reputation for being “seedy.” But this started to change in 1920 when women gained the right to vote. In order to attract female customers and increase their sales, diners started to clean up their act. Owners would plant flowers and shrubs, re-paint their diner, and some added the word Miss to the name in order to feminize their image. The manufacturers of diners added modern conveniences such as indoor bathrooms. Not only did new amenities attract more customers, but diners became a place for anyone to enjoy a fast, affordable, convenient meal.
Bringing Early Diners Out Of The Night
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