“I found this spoon in a drawer at home. It was gray and I thought it was stainless steel, but after polishing it with silver polish it looks like silver. The front of the handle has PROPERTY OF HORN & HARDART CO pressed into the metal and the back has W and HORN & HARDART CO. Can you help me to find any information about it?” Some of the staff of the Newton Falls Public Library had heard of the Horn & Hardart Automats in New York City, and thought perhaps that the spoon may originally have come from there.
We began searching through the library’s antiques and collectibles books, including Antiques Traders Antiques & Collectibles 2009 & 2010 price guides and The Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price Guide 2010 by Ralph and Terry Kovel. While these resources have a great deal of interesting information, we were unable to locate any about Horn & Hardart collectibles.
Continuing our investigation online, we first began researching Horn & Hardart Automats. A book, The Automat: the history, the recipes, and allure of Horn & Hardart's masterpiece by Lorraine B. Diehl and Marianne Hardart was found at www.theautomat.net. The restaurants opened in the early twentieth century and were also located in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Customers received their freshly made food by opening the small doors in self serve vending machines. In the FAQ section of the website someone had posted a question about the value of Horn & Hardart silver spoons, and was followed by the suggestion to check on EBay. Several spoon offerings were listed at that site.
According to National Geographic [http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/city-guides/new-york-recipes], the last Horn & Hardart closed in the 1990s. Internet searching even revealed a blog posting about one of the spoons which was found in yard in Hawaii [http://bradaptation.com/2008/05/01/old-spoon/comment-page-1].
The Automat: the history, the recipes, and allure of Horn & Hardart's masterpiece is available through our shared TiPL (Trumbull Independent Public Libraries) catalog. Our patron requested the book and is eagerly looking forward to learning more about this early fast food restaurant, which served its food on china with silverware