American Woman

American Woman

The American Woman black light poster was created for the first Earth Day in 1970 by Rick Ambrose. Only 5000 were printed and most were destroyed over the last 44 years! Want to give your diner a taste of the 60’s 70’s—This one perfectly sums up that era !

A Fine Diner

Mat's Diner

Mat's Garage and Diner

Take a look at this!  Can you believe this is a retro diner under construction to fit within the confines of a residential garage (a BIG garage)?  Did I tell you it is in New Zealand?

In addition to this fabulous eatery, the owners of the garage are Ferrari enthusiasts, and will showcase a mighty fine car collection.  The diner setting will be the perfect place to sit and talk about sports cars.  Can I get a milkshake and fries with that, please? 

Pictures provided by, compliments of their wonderful New Zealand customers.

Looking for Diner Decor?

Whenever I go to diners and other places which have old-fashioned and vintage signs, I often ask myself, “Where does this stuff come from?” There are signs and items that look vintage, but are actually new, just made to look old. That being said, we are all only a click away from decorating empty walls and spaces with exciting metal signs, clocks, mirrors, and other vintage-style objects. has everyting anyone will need to fulfill these decor needs, from collectible toys and model cars, to lighted and metal signs which will add pizazz to any diner setting. They have it all!

A look at a Home Diner layout:

Vargo’s Diner in Mechanicsville, MD, is a really nice look at a recreation space turned into a Retro Diner. Here are some pictures they sent us:


From our How To files: Instructions for Installing Your Laminate

Do it yourselfers building home bars have to deal with many obstacles along the way. One of which is repairing or installing new laminate on counter tops.  So here are some things you should know:

Most laminate manufacturers have guidelines for installing their laminates and their web sites are a terrific resource. Suffice it to say, laminates can be attached with  a variety of quality glues. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

The laminate should be larger that the substrate. Excess will be removed after attachment. To make handling easier, a large sheet can be cut with laminate sheers or a saw equipped with a very sharp carbide tipped finishing blade as long as the laminate covers the substrate completely. Once attached and rolled, the excess laminate is removed with a router and a flush cutting laminate bit. There are small routers made just for this purpose, but any router will work.

Using wood glues:

Most of the 50’s countertops were attached with a quality wood glue. It certainly works. A disadvantage is that it takes time for wood glues to set up. Therefore, unless a uniform pressure is applied to the entire surface for the cure time, air pockets can form under the laminate. An advantage is that it is easy to reposition the laminate over the substrate so that it covers completely. It is not a one shot situation, like contact cements. Wood glues are used to re-glue a loose corner sometimes.

Using Contact Cements:

Contact cement is by far the most common way to attach laminates. Most contact cements are organic solvent based, and highly flammable as well as toxic. There are water based products that work very well and are much safer to use. When cured, both products are water resistant, and create a strong bond. Contact cement is applied to both surfaces and allowed to tack-dry. The two pieces are then mated, and the bond is immediate. You should not plan to move the laminate once contact is made.

To help position the laminate after the glue is applied to both surfaces and allowed to flash over, dowels can be spaced over the substrate so that the laminate can be set down without actually contacting the substrate. Be sure that the surface is covered entirely, and remove the dowels, starting at one end and progressing to the other end, smoothing the laminate as you go with your hand.

Using a laminate roller, air pockets can be removed by starting at the center and rolling towards the edge. Added pressure applied during rolling process increases the strength of the bond.

Planning Counter Seating – How High? How Far Away For Stools?

Here are some specs if you are planning counter seating. Seating comfort is very important, so note these statistics well:

Counter Top Seating Specs


The Diner Designer likes to review the individual elements of the restored Diner or the Home design in retro style. One of those elements is often a Juke Box. And one of the most popular of these is the Wurlitzer 1015.

Having trouble with your restored Wurlitzer 1015 Juke Box? Here are some things to check if the machine is malfunctioning:


Locate REJECT ROD on outside of machine (See Figure 1)

Picture 1

Open front door and follow rod from the outside to the inside brass fitting (See Figure 2 and Figure 3).

Ensure that brass fitting is not pushing against ROCKER PLATE…there should be a very small amount of space between the brass fitting and ROCKER PLATE. If the brass fitting is pushing on the ROCKER PLATE, this could be your problem (See Figure 3 and Figure 4). You will need to loosen the screw on the brass fitting and move the brass fitting away from the ROCKER PLATE. Then re-tighten screw and test that REJECT ROD now works properly (brass fitting should only push on ROCKER PLATE when REJECT ROD is pushed from outside the machine).


Remove back panel of machine.

Locate “DOG” (See Figure 5).

Picture 2

There is a rod that should be inside the notch of the DOG (See Figure 6). The rod should be in any of three positions depending on which mode of operation the machine is in. If the rod is on the outside of the notch as in Figure 7, gently move it to the inside of the notch (See Figure 6).

Speak French? Visiting Paris?

If you’d like to see a Video about the Happy Days Diner, from our friend Jean-Baptiste Cabantous, then go HERE:

We were thrilled to get this in the mail from Jean-Baptiste and hope you like it too (even if you don’t speak French, watching Jean-Baptiste “build” the house special is a culinary delight.)

Home restoration project needs a coin system…

I received a note from someone who was restoring a kiddie ride on his own and was looking for a new coin system for it… I believe the ride was a horse like Champ, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, when I need parts the first place I go to is, which is the primary supplier for decals and machine parts in the collector industry. And there I found it:

The Kiddie Ride Coin Box with ATV-3 Timer is a completely self-contained, locking coin collection system. Made of heavy duty 16 gauge cold rolled steel, this coin box includes it’s own coin mechanism, cashbox and solid state timer. Standard Features Include:

  • Scratch resistant baked on powder coated paint in a Silver Vein textured color
  • Fitted with a metal U.S. quarter coin mechanism that accepts up to 7 quarters
  • Adjustable timer so you can set the length of ride
  • Coin insert and coin return cup have polished chrome finish
  • Round key barrel lock for extra security
  • This unit can be ordered directly from for $299.00 plus shipping and comes with their warranty.

    Get to know your Retro Vending Machines: The Vendo – 56

    v 56Introduced in late 1957, the VENDO-56 is much like the Vendo 81 but just a bit smaller.  Due to this machine’s smaller size it is a highly sought after machine!

    The V-56 was primarily produced in the Coca Cola brand.  These machines will vend almost any size glass bottle.  This includes the new coke bottles all the way up to most long neck beer bottles.

    Size -52″ high, 25″ wide, and 18.75″ deep.

    Restored to better then new condition by BITW, they come with a 3 year warranty. These are true pieces of Americana History and are becoming increasingly difficult to find today.  If you have any questions or wish to find one, call 1-800-507-7632.