How an Automat works


Ever wonder how a Horn & Hardart Automat worked? Watch all the moving parts inside this original section of Automat windows.

There were many iterations of the H&H Automat over the decades while it was in use. This early version was designed by Horn & Hardart's Chief Engineer, John Fritsche. John is credited with designing the famous wall of windows elegantly covered in milk glass, brass, and powered by perfectly-tuned mechanics. 

As the customer, all you had to do was make your choice, put in your nickels, turn the knob, and the brass door would open with your food. Behind the glass was a symphony of mechanical parts and people worked to create a seamless experience. The large metal drum would swing around to the kitchens where the food could be loaded and set for the next customers.

Even after all this time, this section of Automat windows still operates with the brilliance and refinement it did 100 years ago.