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Working Lunch: 1902

Dayton, Ohio, circa 1902. "Window in girls' restaurant, National Cash Register." Dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

Dayton, Ohio, circa 1902. "Window in girls' restaurant, National Cash Register." Dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Girls' Restaurant

Employee lunchrooms segregated by gender? How dreadfully dull.

The Cash

I went to grade school at Holy Angels, near the location of what was an NCR factory building. It's just west of UD. I remember the older section of the school, built in 1903, shaking and hearing the presses crashing when the stamping equipment was in operation. All of the NCR plants had huge windows as shown here. The factory complex is all gone and the HQ is going to Atlanta. UD is purchasing much of the property.

As for J.H. Patterson, he was a pill but he almost singlehandedly organized the disaster response and relief efforts during the 1913 flood. The contrast between Dayton and New Orleans is remarkable to me and is something to learn from.

We're beat up a little but it's still great'n Dayton.

Fascinating - - -

Not so much for quantity of detail, but for composition, balance and sheer simple peacefulness of the scene. One of those things you can just sit and stare at for hours. Well, minutes.

Stewart Street

I have worked in the building that replaced this one. That is Stewart Street on the left and out of frame to the left is the Fair Grounds for Montgomery County. The empty fields in the shot would later be filled with buildings and now subsequently are empty again.

Working Lunch: 1902

It is interesting to compare this photo with the famous Edward Hopper painting "Chop Suey."

Grateful for Perma Press

I can't get past the amount of ironing it took to achieve the 1902 "look" captured in this photo. Those blouses would not be an easy task, the tablecloth and those aprons could take a lot of time and effort.

Food for Thought

I live in Dayton and think it is interesting to note that the three large buildings seen in the background of this photo are still standing and thriving on the University of Dayton campus. From left to right, they are St. Mary's Hall (1870), Chapel of the Immaculate Conception (1869), and St. Joseph Hall (1884).

Windows 02

Perhaps while they're waiting for lunch, they're contemplating all the possibilities for the (then) new century: computers, cars, television, men who walk on the moon, and tiny telephones you can tuck away in your reticule.

Let them drink tea

Note the empty bread dish. Had either "girl" dined on bread and butter, the company's owner John Henry Patterson reportedly would have fired her (because he considered such food unhealthy). His tyrannical management style has earned Patterson the ninth spot in Portfolio's Worst American CEOs of All Time (

Waiting and Watching

Probably waitin' for the Wright Brothers to come on by!


That sure is a monster of a double hung window.


There's a real contrast between this photo and the previous shot of the NCR, which must have been a very noisy work place. There's also a dignity and modesty about these women that you just don't get today. Great view as well!

That's a mighty light lunch

where's the food?

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