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Over 100 years ago in 1916, a Polish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker opened a hotdog stand on the corner of Surf and Sitwell Avenues on Coney Island, New York. With the help of two friends, their $300 loan and his wife’s secret spice recipe, Handwerker created the original Nathan’s Famous hotdog stand. Legend has it, on the 4th of July in 1916 two immigrants settled an argument over who was the most patriotic by having a hotdog-eating contest. The now-famous contest became an “Independence Day Institution,” as the New York Daily News puts it. The competition has been cancelled only twice since: “In 1941, to protest the war in Europe, and in 1971, as a rebuke of ‘civil unrest and the reign of free love.’”
The competition isn’t the only thing that’s lasted for more than a century. Nathan’s Famous logo has remained a staple to the now-international brand. Throughout the years, it has remained obvious that Nathan’s wants you to remember where their fame began: In 1916 with a man whose hard work made him and his wife international successes. The use of an older typeface, one that could be considered “dated” when used incorrectly, solidifies the brand as a long-standing, and at this point probably household, name.
Regardless of how you feel about hotdogs, or hotdog eating contests for that matter, it’s impossible to deny to simple beauty behind the Nathan’s Famous logo. We’re still trying to figure out who created this one. Help us solve the mystery, and enjoy these images of Nathan’s logo throughout the decades.