Ham & Eggs Incorporated, Los Angeles 1930s
The delightfully named Ham and Eggs Incorporated was a café on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles in the 1930s when this famous street was still mainly a residential district. As far as we know, food dishes were scrawled on a blackboard so there was no paper menu. These wonderful images come from matchbook covers that were distributed free to customers (most people smoked cigarettes back then) as a marketing tool.
These images epitomizes the charm and inventiveness of the vintage menu artist. He or she has anthropomorphized the pig and the chicken to make them into real-life and loveable characters. The typography is elegant, with fonts that seem clear and modern and are in contrast to the calligraphy style that was popular then.
Wilshire Blvd was created in 1895 - wealthy homeowners built grand mansions along the route – but its residential status began to change in the 1920s when businessman A W Ross successfully fought the city of Los Angeles to have his property re-zoned for business. As the years went by, other homeowners followed suit or sold their properties to others as commerce intruded. 3953 Wilshire Blvd, where Ham and Eggs Incorporated was located, later became a bar called the Rocket Room and later still became a bar called The Executive Room. Billy Joel played piano here for six months in 1972 and the characters from his song Piano Man are said to be based on the people he met here.
The building was demolished in 1985
Courtesy Private Collection.
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