Frank Hardart, Sr (Frank Hardart)

Frank Hardart, Sr

Businessman. In 1858, his family emigrated from Bavaria to New Orleans, where, at 13, he learned the French-drip method of brewing coffee while working at a lunch counter. In 1886, Hardart answered an advertisement for a restaurant partner placed by Philadelphian  Joseph V. Horn and became his partner. Hardart’s introduction of French-drip coffee is generally credited with the firm’s early success. Additional restaurants were opened. In the late 1800s mechanized food delivery without the use of table servers became popular in Germany and Europe; Hardart visited Berlin in 1900 and saw the “automat.” The partners ordered the German machinery, and, in 1902, opened the first American automat in Philadelphia.  Hot entrees, cold sandwiches, bowls of soup, and slices of pie awaited in the cubicles behind the small glass doors which opened when the right number of nickels were inserted in the slots. The team opened its first Manhattan automat in New York City’s Times Square in 1912. Despite the company’s expansion, food quality was guaranteed by a book Horn wrote. The practical book contained recipes and operating regulations, and was the Bible of every Horn and Hardart establishment. Reasonable prices, food variety, and uniform quality made the restaurants successful. There was no English requirement for immigrants who used their nickels to open whichever automat doors they chose. Though some ascribe the decline of Horn and Hardart automats to rival eateries, others maintain that the beginning of the end occurred when the automats raised the price of a cup of its famous coffee from five to ten cents in 1950. (bio by: rjschatz)  Family links:  Spouse:  Mary E. Bruen Hardart (1860 – 1916)*  Children:  Augustin Stephen Hardart (1888 – 1969)* *Calculated relationship


  • October, 22, 1850


  • December, 12, 1918


  • Holy Cross Cemetery
  • Pennsylvania
  • USA

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