The Railroad Advertising Cat

Part Five: Chessie Today

In 1973, the C&O became the Chessie System. Although many of us Chessie fans continue to object, the System decided that the company needed a new logo. Fortunately, since Chessie remained a highly recognizable and beloved symbol, the System decided to silhouette Chessie's head within the letter "C." From then on, Chessie's silhouette was painted in yellow on a blue background.

In 1974, the C&O discontinued its calendars because 1) the C&O issued pocket appointment calendars, and 2) Chessie was already a known commodity. However, after four years, the C&O started printing calendars again and they are still being produced today. While these calendars do not always use the original Chessie cat, but sometimes make use of real gray tabbies, they continue to use Chessie's image, a cute gray cat.

As with all things, companies must change to meet existing needs if they wish to survive. The Chessie System is now a subsidiary of the CSX Corporation, a holding company that specializes in global transportation. The CSX does not use Chessie as its corporate symbol on merchandising items but, recognizing her popularity and loyal following, has made her its "official mascot."

Today, you may find Chessie items at railroad, advertising, and general antique shows. You'll soon realize that the quantity of these items is very limited. In fact, the items made by the B&O Museum have now become collectibles. You can see some new items and many of the old calendars at the B&O Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. Happy hunting!!!

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