Friday, August 31, 2012

Ten Gallon Hat

Most people are probably familiar with the Arby's restaurant logo, a little stylized cowboy hat. It's been this way for as long as I can remember (not very, if I'm honest!), but back in the sixties the company really played up the Western theme. The earliest franchised restaurants were called "covered wagons", and were designed to have a sort of domed roof, reminiscent of an old Conestoga. Similarly, floors were tiled, in patterns that outlined steer horns, branding irons, and horses. And The Hat.

The iconic hat sign was designed by the company's sign maker, from the very first store opened in Ohio in the early sixties. Like the Golden Arches, The Hat was Arby's signature symbol, and you didn't have to even read the sign to know where you were heading.

Arby's stopped using the big neon signs some time ago, but older franchisees have made an effort to keep them in place, even when their buildings are updated and replaced (I don't think I've ever seen a "covered wagon", but I've seen a bunch of Hats).

Anyway, this one was in Aurora, Illinois, in front of an older restaurant, probably one from the later sixties. It was a fixture for decades, till the restaurant closed a couple of years ago, and The Hat was taken down. I sort of hope someone saved it-this one was in really nice shape.

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