Diner News and History

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Tin Man Diner - North Falmouth, MA

This past Saturday, we made another trip to this 1927 P.J. Tierney & Sons, Inc. manufactured diner. Upon arrival we noticed the parking lot was full—a good sign. Following the yellow bricks up the ramp led us to the entrance in the attached building. Once inside we looked around and there was not an empty table or stool to be found. Being that a diner's the original fast food restaurant, it was only a short wait. Although the purpose of this blog is not about food, on the way toward our seats at the counter, we took a peek to see what the locals were eating. We'll get to that in a moment.

Back in June, Barbara Lind spoke of the many issues they encountered. The diner's condition had deteriorated over the years and it sat unoccupied for last three years. In our previous post we didn't discuss the repairs performed prior to reopening the diner. At first, we considered using the word improvements, however that word sometimes has negative implications for the diner purist. While not enumerating each issue or repair, let's take a look at some.


Tin Man Diner Exterior,
© 2008 DinerHistory.com file photo
Over the years styles changed and exteriors of diners were modified to give them a "fresher look." In the picture to the right, it would appear that the exterior is close to the original. The roof line retains its barrel shaped curvature. We found out that behind the new screened door, the original pocket door was repaired and now slides open and closed. Similar work was performed on the windows allowing them to be operable once again.


Tin Man Interior,
© 2008 DinerHistory.com file photo
During the removal of the diner's end wall, small blue glass windows in the arch were discovered. These may be seen in the upper center of the picture at left. Removing the wall allows unrestricted access to the attached building. In this section there's additional table and booth seating. While Tierney diners were noted for bringing the restroom inside the diner, an accessible restroom was constructed in this part of the building.

A tile floor mentioned here, would have been common in this diner's era. Typically it was small hexagon ceramic tile laid in a honeycomb pattern with a mosaic tile border. As an example, see pictures of the Red Rose Diner, a restored 1927 Tierney here. A side note, the Red Rose is for sale. More research would need to be done to ascertain whether the diner originally had a tile floor and its particular style. Admittedly, the dark wood grained flooring seen in these pictures is an interesting departure from tile.

Counter and Stools,
© 2008 DinerHistory.com
file photo

Pictured at right are the counter stools connected by a foot rail. Stool posts are glossy white porcelain enamel. The thirteen rotating stool tops are covered in a light blue denim like pattern. In our Foster Street Diner post we compared the counter and stools of both diners. Considering the narrow marble counter below the windows, along with the diner's width, this diner may not have had duce tables like the Red Rose.

Missing wall tiles were replaced with similar ones salvaged from a subway station. The front wall of the counter and has an inlaid dapple green tile geometric pattern. Notice the same pattern below the windows on the right. The Worcester Lunch Car Company had a similar geometric until the late 1930s, when they adopted the contrasting tile stripe with inlaid stainless steel above and below.

Out of view in the picture to the right are the marble counter tops. These were wet sanded, bringing back their original beauty. Seeing them reminds us of the counter top at the Liberty Elm diner, as pictured here. Speaking of counter tops, there was no cooking equipment in the back bar. In it's place a counter and storage area was constructed. The tiled back bar was covered in a Wainscot-like white panel. Over the original cooking area, the metal hood was sanded and remains in place. At either end of the back bar there's what looks to be original storage cabinets with the same marble top.

Also out of view in the picture above, at the end of the diner there's a doorway on the left. Look at the ceiling in there for a contrast with the main part of the diner. The white ceiling along with the new light fixtures really brightens up the entire diner. Also on the ceiling, you'll see another common feature in Tierney diners—a skylight.

An advertisement for Tierney diners is shown in Dinerman's post here. In the early 1930s, P.J. Tierney & Sons, Inc. ceased operations and subsequently became DeRaffele Manufacturing Company Inc. They continue to renovate and manufacture diners to this day.

At the beginning of this post we mentioned the food. We noticed many people were eating the pancakes. The large almost saucer sized fluffy pancakes looked tempting. Our breakfast was delicious and we appreciated the hospitality shown by Barbara and her daughter Susan. Next time we visit we'll sample their dinner menu.

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DeRaffele Manufacturing Company Inc.
New Rochelle, NY

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526 Main St.
Towanda, PA
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Tin Man Diner
70 County Rd.
North Falmouth, MA
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