Pan Am Catering Items 1930s Through WW II
From research to date Pan Am first began to produce china with logos in the late 1930s. Prior to this Pan Am china and glasses did not have logos or any other identifiable markings. The images immediately below shows 3 different examples of dinnerware without logos or branding.
The images below are a dinner plate and demitasse. The logo on the plate and demitasse show North & South America. This pattern was produced for Pan Am by the Homer Laughlin company. All the pieces in this pattern were bottom stamped by the manufacturer with a coded month & year of production. The earliest piece in this collection dates from 1937. The cups are of the shape of the then popular "Swing" pattern.
Dinning Room Aloft
Pictured to the right is the dinning room of a Boeing 314 "Yankee Clipper" flying boat. Passengers would have eaten off of the above Homer Laughlin style plates.
On the table behind the steward (to the right of the flowers) are several examples of the Pan Am branded Homer Laughlin "Swing" cup & saucer.
Depending on the passenger compliment, flight length and travel time of day a cold buffet might be offered to customers on some flights. Below two stewards put the final touches on the buffet table of a Boeing 314 Clipper. Note the menu standing on the small table in the background. Often menus would be hand typed and personalized by the stewards on the day of the flight to include the captain’s name and flight date.
During WWII President Roosevelt flew aboard a Pan Am B314 flying boat en route to meet Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in Casablanca. His Clipper travel coincided with his birthday. Pictured on the left is President Roosevelt enjoying a birthday cake aboard Pan Am. After the war Pan Am would capitalize on being the only airline to ever carry a sitting US President by re-branding their first class service as “The President.”
Below is a picture of the Secret Service team that accompanied Roosevelt on his Clipper trip. The napkin below can be seen under the champagne bucket in the picture of the Secret Service agents. Note also the "swing" pattern cups on the table and that the windows were blacked out at night to prevent being spotted by enemy patrols.
In 1944 Pan Am modified its logo. The old logo (seen on the plates above) showed The Americas in the center of the globe.
The new logo showed part of the Americas as well as part of Europe & Africa. The new logo can be seen on the images to the left. Featured are a gravy boat, sugar bowl and creamer. This pattern was produced by Walker China.
Research to date has not revealed any photos of this pattern being used in flight. Therefore it is not clear if the pattern was used in-flight or just in company cafeterias. Special thanks to airline china expert, Dick Wallin, for his contribution of these photographs.
The Virtual Pan Am Museum