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  #1  
Old 05-11-2010, 09:28 AM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Warshawski & J C Whitney Auto Parts

Beoing a teenager in the 1960's, I was a regular customer at Warchawski's, corner of Archer and State (?). Eventually moving away from Chicago I soon discovered Warchawski's was known elsewhere as J C Whitney. Was this always the case or did the J C Whitney name come about later? Why the two names, anyway? Lastly, I recall most of the "counter guys" as being Asian. How come?


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MODERATOR COMMENT: Please be aware that this thread was from May 2010, revived (in Post #5) in Feb 2011, and now revived (in Post #7) in June 2014. That's OK, we got no problem with new info/thoughts being added to old threads, I just don't want anyone thinking that the posts are current and replying to something 3 - 4 years old. -- CKDH

Last edited by C K Dexter Haven; 06-12-2014 at 06:09 AM..
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2010, 04:31 PM
John Bredin John Bredin is offline
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Well, J.C. Whitney's website states quite plainly that they started out as Warshawsky & Co. in Chicago but doesn't seem to indicate when the name changed. Neither does the Wikipedia article on J.C. Whitney.

I'd guess from the fact that the name change occurred sometime after 1947, judging from the timeline on the company website, that it was a Cold-War-era change to seem more American and less Eastern European, like a VonBraun changing his name to Brown during WWI. But that's just my guess.
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  #3  
Old 05-12-2010, 12:41 PM
Ed Zotti Ed Zotti is offline
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I worked for Warshawsky briefly in the early 70s and the company was known as J.C. Whitney outside Chicago then. The discussion here:

http://customerservicenumbers.com/co-j-c--whitney---co-

... suggests the J.C. Whitney name dates back to the earliest mail-order days. Though the origin of the name isn't stated, my guess is the Warshawskys thought it sounded less ethnic.
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  #4  
Old 05-20-2010, 01:35 PM
ardecila ardecila is offline
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The counter guys were probably Asian because Archer/State was near Chinatown, and plenty of Chinese living in the area were looking for jobs.
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  #5  
Old 02-12-2011, 12:09 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Saturday morning was a kick down there. Cars parked everywhere with their hoods open or up on jacks with their owners installing the parts they just bought.
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  #6  
Old 09-27-2011, 02:01 AM
tibclaud tibclaud is offline
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Sam's Auto Grille & Bumper Exchange

I hope you (particularly SanDiegTim) have some memory of what I'm about to tell you. In 1966, I was twelve years-old and I worked at my grandfathers auto parts store. He was a small competitor of Warshawski. Sam's Auto Grille and Bumper Exchange located at 1832 South Wabash. It was a beat up old building. A different building, also an auto parts store, now stands in its place. I was wondering if anyone has any memory of my grandfather's store so many years ago. If so, if you happen to have pictures of the general area on Wabash from that era, I would really be thrilled to see them. If you had a picture of the store, I would freak.
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  #7  
Old 06-12-2014, 05:56 AM
SESmith SESmith is offline
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J.C.Whitney -v- Warshawsky & Co.

I was a regular customer at BOTH shops in the 70's. Same building, single corner entrance, set at an angle. Sign above one door said Warshawsky, other door said J.C.Whitney. They both published a catalog, nearly identical, except for part number & prices. Some items were cheaper in one catalog, others cheaper in the other. I would spend several hours comparing prices & making a list with Catalog#, Part#, Item Name, & Cost. Then make my 70 mile drive into Chitown to make my buy... Loved It!

Last edited by SESmith; 06-12-2014 at 05:57 AM..
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  #8  
Old 06-12-2014, 06:32 AM
crucible crucible is offline
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I surely remember driving in from East Chicago, Portage, Gary more than once to get some customizing or rebuilding parts for my '55 Chevy or '61 Corvair.

the Chevy had the distinction of being stolen by a total of 12 young minority youth from a Chisox game, parked in the street. Police said they took it for joyrides, including trying to pass between iron posts 2 inches narrower than the car, and they caught one kid who flipped on all the others. Probation, released in the custody of parents, though only 3 or 4 showed up at the arraignment.

We patched it back up and ran it another year until the floorboards deteriorated to the point where dust was piling up on the front seat. Traded for the Corvair, a car that left me stranded in North Dakota, -10 degrees, 4 a.m. Trucker saved me. It turned into a Chevelle that fell apart after 100,000 miles, leaving a great drive train and not much else. The Rambler American came next, the one with the bullet hole in the muffler when I bought it. A bookmobile backed out of a library driveway and crushed it up against a light pole, never stopped, but a witness gave us the info.

Butterfly wings.
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  #9  
Old 06-12-2014, 07:23 AM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Was there anything sold there that didn't increase horsepower and gas mileage? :-)
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  #10  
Old 06-12-2014, 11:07 AM
RTFirefly RTFirefly is online now
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And here I opened this thread thinking it had something to do with fictional Chicago detective V.I. Warshawski.
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  #11  
Old 06-12-2014, 04:04 PM
crucible crucible is offline
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
Was there anything sold there that didn't increase horsepower and gas mileage? :-)
I know I bought body parts, like a 'rocker panel'; buckets of body filler, floor mats, steering wheel spinners, mirrors, etc. etc.

I think I bought a 4 barrel carb for the Corvair, but, actually, it didn't help much. That might have come from a junk yard.

We were in a hurry to get to Beloit, WI one evening to go to a sporting event and the engine began running on 5 cylinders (spark plug wire came loose), so I had to slow to about 80; got a ticket. then, on the way home we decided to use US 12? to avoid the cops? didn't work, got another ticket and had to talk my way out of another. Cops didn't seem to like Corvairs.

Last edited by crucible; 06-12-2014 at 04:05 PM..
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  #12  
Old 06-14-2014, 12:26 AM
Little_Pig Little_Pig is offline
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Warchawski's! THE place to be if you were a gear head in the 60's. Thank you for the memories, SanDiegoTim !
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2014, 01:11 PM
Kingson Kingson is offline
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Warshawsky is spelled with a "Y."
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  #14  
Old 01-06-2015, 10:27 AM
kierjess84 kierjess84 is offline
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jc whitney warshawsky's and company

My father worked at Warshawsky's from the moment he stepped off his ship in the Navy until the 1990's. My mother's father had hired him and when she walked into the store to see her father, my dad turned to him, ( her father was my dad's immediate supervisor) and said he was going to marry her. My dad worked his way up to store manager in no time. 2 years after I was was born my mother passed. My dad never remarried. I spent many times at Warshawsky's and I knew most of the people who worked there. My brother worked there for 5 summers during summer break. My father was Roy Warshawsky's right hand man in the store at 1900 State Street. He would be the first person that people would see when they entered the store. I still have the pictures from his 45 years of service. My dad's name is Sol Weiner. If anyone remembers him, I'd love to hear about it. And I'd love to know if State street store still is up and in operation!
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  #15  
Old 01-06-2015, 02:02 PM
Little_Pig Little_Pig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kierjess84 View Post
My father worked at Warshawsky's from the moment he stepped off his ship in the Navy until the 1990's. My mother's father had hired him and when she walked into the store to see her father, my dad turned to him, ( her father was my dad's immediate supervisor) and said he was going to marry her. My dad worked his way up to store manager in no time. 2 years after I was was born my mother passed. My dad never remarried. I spent many times at Warshawsky's and I knew most of the people who worked there. My brother worked there for 5 summers during summer break. My father was Roy Warshawsky's right hand man in the store at 1900 State Street. He would be the first person that people would see when they entered the store. I still have the pictures from his 45 years of service. My dad's name is Sol Weiner. If anyone remembers him, I'd love to hear about it. And I'd love to know if State street store still is up and in operation!
Here is a Google street view of 1900 S. State. The old building appears gone.
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  #16  
Old 01-06-2015, 02:52 PM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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My favorite memory of Warshawsky's is when I was on the way home from a boneyard in the area, lugging a new (to me) front leaf spring to replace the broken one on my step van. I needed some other stuff and stopped in there on my way to the El. One of the other customers was smoking, and asked where the ashtrays were. Without missing a beat or looking up, the counterman says, "You're standing in it".
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  #17  
Old 01-06-2015, 04:30 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kierjess84 View Post
My father worked at Warshawsky's from the moment he stepped off his ship in the Navy until the 1990's. My mother's father had hired him and when she walked into the store to see her father, my dad turned to him, ( her father was my dad's immediate supervisor) and said he was going to marry her. My dad worked his way up to store manager in no time. 2 years after I was was born my mother passed. My dad never remarried. I spent many times at Warshawsky's and I knew most of the people who worked there. My brother worked there for 5 summers during summer break. My father was Roy Warshawsky's right hand man in the store at 1900 State Street. He would be the first person that people would see when they entered the store. I still have the pictures from his 45 years of service. My dad's name is Sol Weiner. If anyone remembers him, I'd love to hear about it. And I'd love to know if State street store still is up and in operation!
I drive down that stretch of State Street periodically. I don't remember noticing it still being there for quite awhile, but I haven't specifically been paying attention. I'll make a note to look next time.
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  #18  
Old 01-09-2015, 10:35 PM
kierjess84 kierjess84 is offline
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Originally Posted by Little_Pig View Post
Here is a Google street view of 1900 S. State. The old building appears gone.
So sad. But it looks nice. Thank you for the information!
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  #19  
Old 03-03-2015, 10:08 PM
WHITNEYJEN WHITNEYJEN is offline
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Warshawsky-Whitney Memories

If KIERJESS84 (or anyone else) has more information and photos of the staff and company from the Chicago days, I would GREATLY appreciate any for my research on the Warshawsky-JC Whitney company history, so please contact me via e-mail at: jenmk1976@yahoo.com.
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  #20  
Old 03-04-2015, 09:57 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is online now
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I did drive that stretch of State Street recently, and Warshawsky is clearly gone. But the Blue Star Auto Parts store is still nearby at 2001 S. State, looking ancient.
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