Fun Facts about White Castle

In the third post of our series about the history of White Castle restaurants we report some interesting company trivia.

  • First company newsletter published in 1926 was called the “Hot Hamburger”
  • Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram had an airplane to travel to their restaurants
Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram with their airplane.

Walt Anderson and Billy Ingram with their airplane.

  • Design of the classic porcelain steel White Castles was based on the Chicago Water Tower
  • Created first movable metal building in 1928
  • First White Castle opens in Columbus on June 3, 1929 at 49 S. Front St. Typical of early locations, it was on a small lot in the central city

Exterior view of the first White Castle restaurant opened in Columbus, Ohio.

Exterior view of the first White Castle restaurant opened in Columbus, Ohio.


Poster advertising the health benefits of White Castle hamburgers.

Poster advertising the health benefits of White Castle hamburgers.

  • In 1930 a medical student lived on nothing but White Castle hamburgers and water for 13 weeks and maintained good health
  • During World War II the Porcelain Steel Buildings division that normally fabricated the metal restaurant buildings and fixtures made parts for amphibious trucks used by the U.S. Army called “ducks”
  • Flew White Castle hamburgers to U.S. Marines stationed in Beirut, Lebanon in 1982
  • It would take roughly 9,966,840 White Castle burgers to fill the Archives/Library Research Room on the third floor of the Ohio History Center per our staff’s calculations
Research Room on the third floor of the Ohio History Center.

Research Room on the third floor of the Ohio History Center.

  • On three griddles a White Castle can cook 2,000 hamburgers an hour
  • In 1992 Ernest L. Meyer took White Castle hamburgers from St. Louis to Antarctica; they were still hot.
  • St. Louis, not the company headquarters Columbus, is the city in which White Castle has had restaurants for the longest period of time

The Ohio History Connection Archives/Library has held the White Castle System, Inc. corporate records since 1995. They are available to the public for research in the Archives/Library Research Room, Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM. Things you can find in the corporate records include, but are not limited to:

  • Restaurant history files track when restaurants were opened and closed
  • Minutes of annual meeting minutes document corporate decisions
  • Company newsletters report milestones and information about employees
  • Product packages, advertising materials and photographs covering decades

Example of White Castle coupon that was once distributed in the Cincinnati area from the White Castle corporate archives.

Example of White Castle coupon that was once distributed in the Cincinnati area from the White Castle corporate archives.


A selection of photographs and posters from the White Castle records have been digitized. Click here to view the White Castle Digital Collection in our digital library, Ohio Memory.

Lisa Wood, Curator for Visual Resources

Sources of Information:

All This from a 5-cent Hamburger! The Story of the White Castle System by E.W. Ingram, Sr.

Selling ‘em by the Sack, White Castle and the Creation of American Food by David Gerard Hogan

By the Sackful, A Scrapbook with Recipes from 85 Years of White Castle Craving edited by Nicki Pendleton Wood for White Castle Management Company

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Ohio History Connection Collections and Curators in the News

The Ohio History Connection’s collections and curators are in the news!

Collage of Family Photographs
Learn more about preserving your family photographs, traditional prints and digital images, in this article that ran in the Newark Advocate, A Few Simple Steps to Preserve Family Photos. Preservation information is provided by Lisa Wood, curator for visual resources at the Ohio History Connection, and Harry Campbell, conservator at The Ohio State University Libraries.

Formal portrait of history professor Wilbur H. Siebert.

Formal portrait of history professor Wilbur H. Siebert.


In honor of African American History Month Columbus Dispatch columnist Joe Blundo wrote about the Wilbur H. Siebert Collection in his Sunday column. Siebert was a history professor at The Ohio State University who collected oral and written accounts of participants in the Underground Railroad beginning in the 1890s. His students assisted and this information was compiled into books that documented the Underground Railroad in Ohio and other states. There are over 4,000 pages of material in the Siebert Collection, including photographs, related to the Underground Railroad in Ohio that have been digitized. Normally the Siebert Collection is available by subscription, during February it is available online for free. The digital collection is keyword searchable. Type in the name of your city or town and find out if residents once assisted slaves escaping to freedom.

Lisa Wood, Curator for Visual Resources

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White Castle: 1950s to the Present

This is the second in a series of posts about the history of White Castle restaurants. Check in on Tuesday, February 3 to read fun facts about White Castle.

After World War II White Castle, which had been the only hamburger restaurant in some cities, faced growing competition from numerous chains. They stuck to their long time strategy – high quality hamburgers and coffee, cleanliness, good service, happy employees – and continued to succeed.

1950s

Exterior view of the first White Castle opened in Miami, Florida.

Exterior view of the first White Castle opened in Miami, Florida.

  • Fish sandwiches added to menu to boost sales during Lent
  • French fries, which first appeared during World War II, are permanently returned to the menu in 1959
  • Founder Billy Ingram retired to Miami, Florida in 1958
  • Several White Castles opened in Miami

1960s

  • Began using vegetable oil for fried foods
  • Cheeseburgers introduced in 1962
  • Founder Billy Ingram passed away in 1966; his son took over company
  • Miami, Florida restaurant locations are closed
Elevated view of White Castle restaurant in New York city.  It was called New York number 24 because it was the 24th White Castle restaurant opened in that city.

Elevated view of White Castle restaurant in New York city. It was called New York number 24 because it was the 24th White Castle restaurant opened in that city.

1970s

  • Beginning of drive- through service means the end of curb side service that had been offered since the 1930s
  • Third generation of Ingram family is leading the company
Exterior view of White Castle number 26 in Cincinnati, Ohio with a drive-through window.  It was called Cincinnati number 26 because it was the 26th White Castle restaurant opened in that city.

Exterior view of White Castle number 26 in Cincinnati, Ohio with a drive-through window. It was called Cincinnati number 26 because it was the 26th White Castle restaurant opened in that city.

1980s

  • Added breakfast sandwiches to menu in 1986
  • Introduced kids meals in 1987
  • Established WCDI, a division to sell frozen hamburgers in grocery stores
Exterior view of Cincinnati number 19 at night.  White Castle restaurants have always been known for being open late.

Exterior view of Cincinnati number 19 at night. White Castle restaurants have always been known for being open late.

1990s to the Present

  • Corporate headquarters is still in Columbus, Ohio
  • Company is still family run
  • Currently 392 restaurants in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Missouri, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin
  • Bacon cheeseburgers added in 1992

The Ohio History Connection Archives/Library has held the White Castle System, Inc. corporate records since 1995. They are available to the public for research in the Archives/Library Research Room, Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM. Things you can find in the corporate records include, but are not limited to:

Example of poster advertising to families from the White Castle archives.

Example of poster advertising to families from the White Castle archives.

  • Restaurant history files track when restaurants were opened and closed
  • Minutes of annual meeting minutes document corporate decisions
  • Company newsletters report milestones and information about employees
  • Product packages, advertising materials and photographs covering decades

A selection of photographs and posters from the White Castle records have been digitized. Click here to view the White Castle Digital Collection in our digital library, Ohio Memory.

Lisa Wood, Curator for Visual Resources

Sources of Information:

All This from a 5-cent Hamburger! The Story of the White Castle System by E.W. Ingram, Sr.

Selling ‘em by the Sack, White Castle and the Creation of American Food by David Gerard Hogan

By the Sackful, A Scrapbook with Recipes from 85 Years of White Castle Craving edited by Nicki Pendleton Wood for White Castle Management Company

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White Castle: 1920s through World War II

This is the first in a series of posts about the history of White Castle restaurants. Check in on Friday, January 30 to read more about White Castle from 1950s to the present.

In the words of Billy Ingram, one of the company founders, the history of White Castle is:

Edgar W. "Billy" Ingram, Sr.

Edgar W. “Billy” Ingram, Sr.


…more than the story of the growth of an individual Company: it is the story of originating a new kind of business; the story of developing the hamburger sandwich into its modern, tasty form…”

1920s

  • Real estate agent Billy Ingram met cook Walt Anderson
  • Opened first hamburger stand in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas
  • First restaurants had 5 seats at the counter
  • Hamburgers were 5 cents and their coffee was equally popular

Exterior view of Wichita number 1, the first White Castle restaurant opened in Wichita, Kansas

Exterior view of Wichita number 1, the first White Castle restaurant opened in Wichita, Kansas


1930s

  • Introduced newspaper coupons
  • Promoted hamburgers to housewives as nutritious family meals
  • Developed cardboard boxes to keep hamburgers warm
  • Moved corporate headquarters from Wichita to Columbus, Ohio in 1934
Example of the female customers that White Castle advertising campaigns targeted in the 1930s.

Example of the female customers that White Castle advertising campaigns targeted in the 1930s.

1940s

  • Hired women to work in the restaurants for the first time during World War II
  • War time shortages of beef, sugar and other foods posed a challenge
  • Restaurants served things that were not typically on the menu like baked beans, coleslaw, egg sandwiches, hot dogs and for the first time, French fries
  • Price of hamburgers up to 10 cents by 1946
Crowded White Castle in the 1940s.

Crowded White Castle in the 1940s.

The Ohio History Connection Archives/Library has held the White Castle System, Inc. corporate records since 1995. They are available to the public for research in the Archives/Library Research Room, Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM – 5 PM. A selection of photographs and posters from the White Castle records have been digitized. Click here to view the White Castle Digital Collection in our digital library, Ohio Memory.

Lisa Wood, Curator for Visual Resources

Sources of Information:

All This from a 5-cent Hamburger! The Story of the White Castle System by E.W. Ingram, Sr.

Selling ‘em by the Sack, White Castle and the Creation of American Food by David Gerard Hogan

By the Sackful, A Scrapbook with Recipes from 85 Years of White Castle Craving edited by Nicki Pendleton Wood for White Castle Management Company

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Emerson Burkhart Exhibit Featured in Documentary

Have you seen Reflections of an Artist: Emerson Burkhart at the Ohio History Connection?

Emerson Burkhart working on a self portrait, from the collections of the Ohio History Connection.

Emerson Burkhart working on a self portrait, from the collections of the Ohio History Connection.

The exhibition and curator Emily Lang were recently featured in a documentary about Burkhart’s neighborhood, Woodland Park. The Woodland Park documentary explores the past of a small neighborhood that can be traced back to the post-Revolutionary War days when it became a center of commerce on the east side. The film depicts how area was settled the area in the early 1800s and went through several transformations in the last one hundred years.

Have you been to Woodland Park?

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Historic Housekeeping: Textiles

Do you have family heirlooms or a favorite antique object displayed in your home that you want to care for and keep clean? Historic housekeeping is aimed at preventing deterioration from occurring, and differs from normal housekeeping where the goal is for squeaky clean surfaces. We always recommend taking a very conservative approach to cleaning objects in our collection. Cleaning an object too often can be just as damaging as not cleaning at all.  In this blog series, we will be giving general advice on how to care for your historic textiles, glass, ceramics, and wood objects.

The textile category covers a wide range of objects – from floor coverings to dresses to handkerchiefs to military uniforms. Remember that textiles are inherently weak – these are objects that have been made, used, mended, and repaired in the past before being displayed in your home. With proper care, these objects and their rich history can be enjoyed by your family for years to come!

It is important to avoid laundering or commercially dry cleaning your historic textiles. The harsh chemicals used in our modern detergents and machines can lead to rapid deterioration of fragile, older, fibers.  Believe it or not, vacuuming and dusting makes up a majority of how we care for our textile collections at the Ohio History Center!

Brush

Begin by using a natural bristle brush to gently sweep dust and dirt from the surface of your textile. These brushes come in a variety of sizes and are easily found at local craft or art supply stores. Use caution if your brush has metal around the bristles, which might snag on loose threads as you dust. You can also cover this metal piece with muslin or cotton to prevent damaging your textile.

Vaccuum

Once you have gently dusted, the ideal method of cleaning an historic textile object is by using a canister vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter and an adjustable suction level to remove surface dust and particles.  Using the lowest suction setting, vacuum using a brush attachment that has been covered with a fine mesh or fiberglass screen over the opening. This prevents small, loose threads or pieces from being pulled into the vacuum. For larger pieces, a small amount of fiberglass screen can be placed on the object. Covering the brush with a piece of clean muslin or 100% cotton is also an option in place of the screen technique. An embroidery hoop can serve as an inexpensive frame for muslin or screen material as well. If your household vacuum is the upright style, always use a brush attachment with a screen in place – do not directly vacuum over an historic rug or other fabric piece.

Curator Vacuum

Using gentle pressure, vacuum in the step-by-step, row-by-row method; that is, pick up the brush and move it over slightly before pressing down again. Try to avoid using rubbing or scrubbing motions, which can cause damage to the fabric.

If your textile has areas where it is more three-dimensional (for instance, on a flocked velvet piece), use a natural bristle brush to gently “flick” the dust from these areas into the covered attachment of your vacuum cleaner. This method will prevent the raised elements from being ground down or damaged by the weight of your vacuum.

Generally speaking, we don’t try to remove stains from historic textiles. Processes to remove old stains and deposits can cause harsh and irreparable damage to the rest of the piece. We suggest consulting with a conservator or textile expert before attempting to spot treat or remove stains.

What are some textiles that you enjoy in your family or your own collection? Do you have a favorite textile object that you’ve seen at the Ohio History Center or one of our sites?

Jessica Mayercin Johnson, Assistant Registrar

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Art Research at the Ohio History Center Archives/Library

Interested in Ohio art? The Ohio History Center Archives/Library has several collections related to Ohio art and artists! Highlights include:

Artists:

Lilly Martin Spencer

H 24656, Self Portrait of Lilly Martin Spencer.

H 24656, Self Portrait of Lilly Martin Spencer.

SC 1122
The photographs are of paintings by Lilly Martin Spencer, including two different self-portraits and a portrait of her husband. Three of the photographs in the collection are of the same painting, “Self-Portrait,” by Lilly Martin Spencer

MIC 119
Microfilmed papers and correspondence of nineteenth century painter, Lilly Martin Spencer, and the Martin family include family history, photographs of Spencer’s paintings, articles and Ann Byrd Schumer’s M.A. thesis about her life and work, and a miscellany including a list of Spencer’s paintings. Letters to the Martins are from reform sympathizers in Ohio and Massachusetts and from their daughter, Lilly Martin Spencer, who comments on the art trade and her career in Cincinnati, New York, and Newark, N.J. Roll two also contains the Bland Gallery Papers, the Oronzo Vito Gasparo Papers, and the Richard Brown Baker Papers, held by the Archives of American Art.

From AV 58,  Emerson Burkhart pinching his nose while handling a duck that he used as a model for his painting.

From AV 58, Emerson Burkhart pinching his nose while handling a duck that he used as a model for his painting.

Emerson Burkhart
VFM 3504
The Emerson Burkhart collection is made up mostly of correspondence. There are ten letters written to Emerson Burkhart while he was in Mexico (circa 1961-1965), most of the letters were sent from Columbus, Ohio. Correspondents include Karl Jaeger and North East Ohio artist, Clyde J. Singer. Also included is a letter from Burkhart to Bingham Small in Charleston, West Virginia (1964). Also found in the collection are notes by Burkhart on life and art, a photocopy of a talk given by Burkhart, as well as programs from various events. The programs include: programs for musical presentations at East High School (1937; 1938) and Baldwin Wallace (1938); a program for a show at the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts (1942); and a program for services at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Columbus, Ohio (1935).

VFM 3504 AV includes of photographs of Emerson Burkhart and his friends and family. Included in the collection is a photograph album dated circa 1924-1945. The photographs in the album are of Burkhart as well as other individuals some of which are identified. Among the loose photographs are a portrait of Burkhart’s father, Albert Marion Burkhart, and two photographs of John Barsotti, Ohio Historical Society Art Curator.

MSS 440
The Emerson Burkhart Papers contain materials related to the life, career, and accomplishments of Columbus, Ohio Artist Emerson Burkhart. The collection includes correspondence, 1945-1950, as well as materials related to the play “I, Emerson Burkhart” by Doral Chenoweth. Also included in this collection are various publications that belonged to the artist with his sketches and notations, including a letter to his wife Mary Ann, which Burkhart wrote inside of “A Bibliography of the First Editions of John Cowper Powys.”

OVS 7469
Photograph of Ohio artist, Emerson Burkhart. The portrait was likely taken while Burkhart was attending Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio from 1923-1927.

AV 275
An unbound scrapbook of illustrations from newspapers and magazines compiled and used as reference by Columbus, Ohio artist Emerson Burkhart. Among the illustrations are images of people and animals in various poses. The scrapbook also includes notes accompanying some of the illustrations.

SC 22
Collection contains two views of a mural painted by well known Columbus artist Emerson Burkhart in Stillman Hall on the campus of The Ohio State University. The murals were commissioned by the Works Progress Administration. There are also photographs of Burkhart and other works, including the painting “Tragedy,” which won the Governors Award at the Ohio State Fair in 1946; a group of Ohio State Fair visitors examining Burkhart’s “Animal Nature in Man” in 1951; two different self portraits dated 1955; and two shots of Burkhart at work in his studio dated 1948 and 1952.

Anne Grimes

AV 201
Collection is comprised of master copies of the musical performances and interviews that Grimes collected access copies on audio cassette and supporting documentation. The original recordings were made between 1941 and 1980.

From SC 2808, portrait of Ohio artist and Ashcan School figure, Robert Henri.

From SC 2808, portrait of Ohio artist and Ashcan School figure, Robert Henri.

George Bellows
Newspaper articles: http://www.ohiohistoryhost.org/ohiomemory/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/GeorgeBellows.pdf

SC 227
Photographs of Bellow’s paintings, including “Children on the Porch,” “Eleanor, Jean, and Anna,” “Anne in White,” and “Polo at Lakewood.”Includes several unidentified photographs.

William Hawkins

OVS 7296
Color print shows artist William L. Hawkins (1895-1990) standing next to his painting “New Hotel at Broad and High St.”

May E. Cook

SC 5753
Collection includes twelve photographs of Ohio artist May E. Cook’s sculptural work. Ohio State University professor Frank Haskett, chairman of the Department of Photography, took the photographs around 1930. The images include six jardinières, three figural works, a set of bird baths and one of the artist working on a sculpture in the studio.

Elis F. Miller

P 385
The Elis F. Miller Collection primarily holds the manuscript material, prints, paintings and sketches of Elis F. Miller.

From SC 1842, artist Howard Chandler Christy is pictured in the center.

From SC 1842, artist Howard Chandler Christy is pictured in the center.

Howard Chandler Christy

SC 1842
Collection contains two photographs of artist Howard Chandler Christy attending public events, possibly portrait unveilings. There are two photographs of Christy’s home on the Muskingum River in Zanesville, Ohio taken in 1922 and 1925. Additionally, there is a photomechanical reproduction of the Christy painting “Scene at the Signing of the U.S. Constitution,” which hangs in the United States Capitol Building in Washington, D. C.

OVS 1765
Newspaper article, by Dann O. Taber, re: artist Howard Chandler Christy and his painting entitled the “Signing of the Greene Ville Treaty.” Also includes a pencil sketch or tracing of the painting with identification of the principals involved.

From AP 1595, Josephine Klippart and her mother, Mrs. Emeline Rahn Klippart, of Columbus.

From AP 1595, Josephine Klippart and her mother, Mrs. Emeline Rahn Klippart, of Columbus.

Josephine Klippart

MSS 143
Secretary of the Ohio State Board of Agriculture. Correspondence, journals, notes, and other papers (1833-78), relating to personal matters, business, politics, the Ohio Geological Survey, and agriculture; and correspondence, diaries, and financial accounts (1847-1933), of Klippart’s wife, Emeline (Rahn) Klippart, and their daughter, Josephine, an artist.

MSS 1349
The Nelson E. Jones Family Collection of historical monographs, correspondence and documents primarily focuses on the Jonnes/Jones family of Circleville, Ohio. Notable in the collection is the original announcements of “The Nests and Eggs of the Birds of Ohio” along with original correspondence and writings related to the late nineteenth century publication by the Jones family. The 329 page text which was illustrated by sixty-eight hand colored lithograph plates was offered as a subscription in the late 1870’s and won awards at the Columbian Exhibition and an honorary degree from Hobart College for Howard Jones who over saw the project. The plates were illustrated and the text was written by his sister, Genevieve, and mother, Virginia Smith Jones. A handful of talented watercolorists aided in the final phases of the seven year project when the main illustrator, Genevieve Jones, died. The women included in the team were Eliza J. Shulze, Nellie Jacobs, Kate Gephart, and Josephine Klippart of Columbus.

From State Archives Series 1039 AV, photograph of a woman pointing to an oil painting of vases in Cleveland, Ohio.

From State Archives Series 1039 AV, photograph of a woman pointing to an oil painting of mortars and pestles in Cleveland, Ohio.

Art Groups and Organizations:

MSS 872
Pen and Pencil Club records, 1905-1942
Scrapbook of the Pen and Pencil Club of Columbus, Ohio, a professional and social club formed in 1897 by artists, contains clippings, photographs, and original drawings documenting activities of the club and its members, including artist George Bellows. The scrapbook was dismantled for microfilming, with contents removed to MSS 872 and MSS 872 AV, and OVS 1214-1223, 1263 collections in the Ohio Historical Society

VOL 1589
Robert W. Toomey Scrapbook, circa 1921-1925
A scrapbook created by Robert W. Toomey who worked for the Ohio State Division of Insurance and led the Columbus Pen & Pencil Club. The scrapbook spans the years circa 1922-1925 and contains photographs, sketches, newspaper clippings, postcards, programs, and letters.

AV 185
Artists on Art collection
The Artists on Art Collection includes the interview transcriptions, video and audiotape created by The Artists’ Organization for artists participating in the Artists on Art project. The interviews are accompanied by biographical surveys, news clippings, exhibit catalogs and images of their artwork submitted by the participants. The collection is an expanding project that will continue to collect the histories of Ohio artists’ in accordance with the Artists on Art mission.

State Archives Series 1039 AV
Ohio Guide Collection
Consists of approximately 4,769 photographs collected for use in the Ohio Guide and other publications of the Federal Writers’ Project in Ohio, 1935-1939 including images from the Federal Art Project.

Interested in searching for more? Check out the online collections catalog! The Archives/Library, located on the 3rd floor of the Ohio History Center, is open Wednesdays-Saturdays 10am-5pm.

Emily Lang, History Curator

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