McDonald's Restaurant Sign, 1960

Summary

In 1948, the McDonald brothers transformed their Southern California drive-in restaurant with their radical new "Speedee Service System"--assembly-line production of a limited menu at drastically reduced prices. Richard McDonald created this sign design in 1952. In 1955, milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc franchised the McDonald's concept--prompting numerous imitators and ultimately turning America into a "fast food nation."

In 1948, the McDonald brothers transformed their Southern California drive-in restaurant with their radical new "Speedee Service System"--assembly-line production of a limited menu at drastically reduced prices. Richard McDonald created this sign design in 1952. In 1955, milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc franchised the McDonald's concept--prompting numerous imitators and ultimately turning America into a "fast food nation."

Brothers and drive-in restaurant owners, Richard and Maurice McDonald, had had enough of loitering teenagers and unreliable cooks and carhops. They have a radical idea -- the Speedee Service System: limited menu, walk-up service, assembly-line food production, and drastically reduced prices. At the end of 1948 they introduce this new system, which revolutionized the fast food industry. Neon signs, like this one, with a single "golden" arch and Speedee, the hamburger-headed chef logo, flashed in front of the early McDonald's franchises. This sign lit up Michigan's second McDonald's located in Madison Heights.

Detailed Description
Artifact

Advertising sign

Date Made

1960

Creators

Unknown

Driving America
 On Exhibit

at Henry Ford Museum in Driving America

Object ID

86.137.1

Credit

From the Collections of The Henry Ford. Gift of Ronald Brodberg and Daniel Shimel.

Material

Metal
Steel (Alloy)
Glass (Material)
Neon

Color

Red
White (Color)
Yellow
Green

Dimensions

Height: 26 ft

Width: 20 ft

Length: 3 ft

Inscriptions

Across center of sign: LICENSEE OF MCDONALD'S / SPEEDEE SERVICE SYSTEM ~ / HAMBURGERS / OVER __ MILLION SOLD On placard held by cook: 15¢

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