Horn & Hardart

From Academic Kids

Horn & Hardart is a company that came to prominence as the proprietors of the first automat in New York City.

Joseph Horn and Paul Hardart had already opened an automat in Philadelphia, but their "Automat" at Broadway and 13th Street, in New York City, a cafeteria with its prepared foods behind small glass windows and coin-operated slots, created a sensation when it opened on July 7, 1912.

The automats were particularly popular during the Depression era, and their Macaroni and Cheese, Baked Beans, and Creamed Spinach were staple offerings.

The company also popularized the notion of "take-out" food, with their slogan "Less work for Mother".

The chain remained popular through the 1950s. It declined with the rise of the Fast food restaurants; the last Automat closed in 1991.

The name of the chain was a household word and the subject of jokes (such as Peter Schickele's satirical piece "by" P. D. Q. Bach, Concerto for Horn and Hardart.)

Automats are no longer a viable concern, though the Smithsonian preserves some of the original equipment.

The Horn & Hardart name is still used for a chain of coffee shops in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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