The Automat
The History, Recipes, and Allure of Horn & Hardart's Masterpiece
Lorraine B. Diehl and Marianne Hardart



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     A coin-operated glass-and-chrome wonder, Horn & Hardart’s Automats revolutionized the way Americans ate when they opened up in Philadelphia and New York in the early twentieth century. In a country where the industrial revolution had just taken hold, eating at a restaurant with self-serving vending machines rather than waitresses and Art Deco architecture instead of stuffy dining rooms was an unforgettable experience. The Automat served freshly made food for the price of a few coins, and no one made a better cup of coffee. By the peak of its popularity—from the Great Depression to the post-war years—the Automat was more than an inexpensive place to buy a good meal; it was a culinary treasure, a technical marvel, and an emblem of the times.

Banks of Automatic Windows where food was purchased

     The Automat will take readers back to the days of Charles Lindbergh and Babe Ruth, Walter Winchell and Jack Benny, the Brooklyn Dodgers and shows at Radio City. Through beautiful archival photography, candid interviews, delicious recipes, and wonderfully evocative memorabilia, Lorraine Diehl and Marianne Hardart bring to life a time when a handful of nickels and the twist of a wrist bought a good square meal—Macaroni and Cheese, Boston Baked Beans, Chicken Pot Pie, Rice Pudding, and all the other favorites whose recipes are in these pages.

The Automat - Horn & Hardart's Masterpiece

The Automat was a true American treasure, and here is its tribute.

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