Every cat lover should recognize Chessie, the corporate symbol of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway that is seen, even today, on the occasional railroad car. Used for promotional purposes since 1933, it was 30 years before her image made its debut on the outside of railroad cars. In 1963, the Chesapeake & Ohio joined with the Baltimore & Ohio and the Western Maryland to become the Chessie System Railroads.
The original image of Chessie was taken from an etching by Viennese artist Guida Gruenwald. It first appeared in a September 1933 advertisement in Fortune magazine with the slogan "Sleep Like a Kitten and Wake Up Fresh as a Daisy in Air Conditioned Comfort."
From 1933-1963 a variety of images of Chessie, by a number of different artists, could be found on promotional items for the railway system, including calendars, posters, jewelry, clothing, music boxes, etc. Two books were even written about Chessie, her mate Peake, and their kittens Nip and Tuck.
During World War II, promotions had Chessie's mate, Peake (shown right), going off to war, and her character was used to gather support on the home front for the war effort.
Chessie ruled the Chessie System of railroad companies for 53 years, being retired as the corporate logo in 1986.
Today, Chessie memorabilia is coveted by both cat lovers and railroad enthusiasts alike. The CFA Foundation owns several pieces of artwork depicting Chessie and Peake, as well as collectible items from the dining cars of the Chessie System Railroads.