White Tower Neon Sign: Hamburgers 5c SOLD AP192

Painted scroll work at the ends. In great condition and full working order: Circa 1934-39.Sign measures 12″ x 94″ x 41″.

White Tower Hamburgers was founded in 1926 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and with its similar white fortress-like structure, is considered an imitator of White Castle. The chain was successful and expanded to other cities, including Chicago, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York City, Albany, Boston and as far south as Richmond, Virginia. During the Great Depression, White Tower sold hamburgers for five cents. The whiteness of the restaurant was meant among other things to evoke hygienic conditions, and the chain had staff dressed as nurses, dubbed the “Towerettes,” to help make this argument.

After losing in court  in 1934 to White Castle for copyright infringement, White Tower settled by agreeing to redesign its diners and adopted a sleek art deco look, under the design hand of the maverick architect Charles Johnson, doing away with the castle-like crenellations and medieval flourishes that had caused the litigation. This piece dates from that celebrated make-over. The chain prospered and flourished through the forties and fifties finally closing down in the 1970s, done in by the drive-thru.

great article:  http://mwboswell.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/hamburgerology-rise-and-fall-of-the-white-towers/

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