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Chessie Kitten


Chessie, the C&O Railway kitten trademark, was a familiar face to West Virginia railway passengers during the golden age of train transportation. Chessie was born in early 1933 from the mind of Lionel Probert, assistant to Chesapeake & Ohio Railway President J. J. Bernet.

Two new passenger trains had recently been inaugurated, the Sportsman and the George Washington. An advertising campaign promoting the new trains was under way and Probert was about to settle on the slogan, ‘‘Sleep Like A Top.’’ By chance he saw a reproduction of a painting of a small kitten tucked between the sheets, a paw gently hugging the pillow and one eye partly open, the creation of Viennese artist Guido Gruenewald. Probert switched to the slogan ‘‘Sleep Like A Kitten,’’ and Chessie became one of the most famous corporate logos in the history of advertising.

Written by Roy C. Long