• PrintMag

Nathan’s Famous 100-Year-Old Logo

Over 100 years ago in 1916, a Polish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker opened a hot dog 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 hot dog 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 hot dog-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.’”

1916, image source: Nathan’s Famous

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 hot dogs, or hot dog 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.

1916, image source: Nathan’s Famous

“To celebrate the end of prohibition, Nathan’s Famous served free beer.” 1933, image source: Nathan’s Famous

1946, image source: Nathan’s Famous

ca 1950, image source: New York Daily News

1967, image source: New York Daily News

undated, image source: New York Daily News

undated, image source: New York Daily News

“Nathan Handwerker’s son, Murray, publishes The Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Cookbook.” 1968, image source: Nathan’s Famous

“To meet growing demand for Nathan’s mouthwatering hot dogs, we opened up our fourth restaurant right in Times Square, New York.” 1971, image source

“Nathan’s began a sponsorship of Richard Petty Motorsports. The first race was at the historic Ponoco Raceway.” 2014, image source

“Marrying two of America’s greatest pastimes, Nathan’s Famous knocks it right out of the park by becoming the first-ever Official Hot Dog of Major League Baseball.” 2017, image source

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