DispL.A. Case #4: The McDonald’s Hamburger


The history of Los Angeles as told through 232 objects.

Los Angeles was founded on September 4, 1781. Between now and the 232nd anniversary, we are gathering the stories behind iconic objects that help explain our city. Los Angeles is older than Chicago, Atlanta or Washington, D.C. In fact, when L.A.’s founders were gathering at El Pueblo, New York City was still occupied by the British army. We have a long story to tell, let’s take a look back and see where the city came from. Feel free to add to this exhibition. Email your ideas to [email protected]

Richard and Maurice McDonald changed the world with a fifteen-cent hamburger. The brothers from New Hampshire invented a new way of eating, and opened the very first assembly-line fast food stand in 1948. Dick and Mac came to California with Hollywood dreams but headed east down Route 66 and eventually opened an orange juice stand in Arcadia, a movie theater and candy shop in Glendora, a hot dog hut in Monrovia, and finally the drive-in restaurant turned proto Mickey D’s at 14th and E Streets in San Bernardino. With the help of the nearby Toman Brothers machine shop, they created a special funnel that would dispense equal parts ketchup and mustard, extra-long spatulas that could flip three burgers at once, and a host of other inventions to aid the speed and consistency they were looking for. A bun, a patty, chopped onions, two pickles, ketchup, and mustard, that’s it. Competitors staked out the parking lot, observed the inventive restaurateurs and spread the idea to the ends of the Earth. 

DispL.A. Case #1: Richard Neutra’s Boomerang Chair

DispL.A. Case #2: The Navel Orange

DispL.A. Case #1: The Booster Poster