Cups at N&W stations

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Jun 4 00:16:20 EDT 2011

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
October 12, 1911

A Penny in the Slot at the Passenger Station Will Get a Cup
The Norfolk and Western has installed a sanitary drinking cup arrangement at the passenger station which will provide individual cups for each person. The arrangement is a novelty for this depot as heretofore an adequate water supply with or without cups has not been provided. The man who wants a drink of water at the depot now can get it by dropping a penny in the slot and the paper cup will be automatically delivered at once.
Of course there are some who will not be satisfied with plain water and for the convenience of those people it might be added that the licensed moisteners are still in business across the street. The advantage that water offers is found in its cheapness, and being able to save four cents or more per glass. The patent drinking cup arrangement is the same as is found on the Norfolk and Western trains.
[Only five cents for a brew across the street? As Archie and Edith sang, "Those were the days."]

Gordon Hamilton

Washington Terminal had Dixie Cup vendors that were one cent, so I imagine it was the same style as mentioned in the article. The patent dates on the dispenser are circa 1910s. I can provide photos off-list but I am traveling until June 18.

Here's a question for the Archives researchers: are there records for which N&W signed contracts with American Locker, gum companies such as Beech Nut, Dixie Cups, and others for allowing them to place vendors at N&W stations? I'm assuming this was done at the corporate level or perhaps the division level, but not by station agents for specific locations.

Best wishes,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at

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