by Steven Doyle
Horn & Hardart was once the world’s largest restaurant chain, serving 750,000 people a day. What was once considered high-tech is actually from an era long past, filled with rich romanticism. Audrey Meadows worked at one in the film “That Touch of Mink”, and Joan Crawford leered longingly at a slice of a patron’s pie in “Sadie McKee”. It was the Automat, and was extremely popular in northern states with the first introduced in Philadelphia in 1902 near Independence Hall.
Horn & Hardt Automats became so popular that they spread quickly, landing in Manhattan in 1912. These were homes to the disenfranchised of the industrial age, and were met hungrily by ad-men who hung monikers on the new-style restaurants such as “Try it! You’ll Like It!”, “New Method of Lunching”, and “Less Work for the Mother”. Continue reading