McDonalds History and
Two Decades of Collectibles

Please be patient there are seven (7) graphics in this article.

This article will guide you through the history and making of McDonalds restaurants.

In 1932 the world was introduced to the first carhop drive-in.

By the mid 1930's many drive-throughs cropped up across the United States.

In 1937 Dick and Mac McDonald opened their first carhop in Pasadena, CA. Their establishment was very small but offered something nobody else did, "fast service".

The McDonalds went from a carhop to a hamburger store, where customers could sit under a canopy and watch their food being prepared.

The McDonald brothers soon realized that their competition was hot on their trail. The brothers opened up a restaurant entitled "Dimer" The name Dimer was to represent everything selling for a dime.

In 1948 the McDonald brothers closed up all of their carhops for renovations. Their new establishments would include a service window with improved customer service. Their kitchens would be designed to handle fast food service.

By the early 1950's the McDonald brothers owned many franchises but felt that they were not progressing as expected.

In 1954 the brothers met an entrepreneur by the name of Ray Kroc.
Mr. Kroc would soon become a legend in McDonald's history. He helped to expand the McDonalds name nationwide. Kroc became a part of the McDonalds team and formed a McDonalds franchise company called McDonalds System Incorporated.

In 1960, Kroc changed this to McDonald's ™ Corporation, which still remains today. In 1961 the McDonald brothers sold their entire rights to Ray Kroc for 3 million dollars.
In 1962 the Golden Arches became the company logo.

In 1961 McDonalds launched the All-American Meal. This promotion offered several meal combinations that were geared towards adults. McDonalds had still done very little to appeal to families and kids.

In the late 1960's Kroc established a massive expansion project which would launch McDonalds to new heights.

Kroc was a fast mover and quickly realized that he must capture the Media Market. The McDonald brothers had a franchiser named Goldstein who was finally going to get a shot at marketing things his way. Goldstein felt that he needed to approach the kid audience and enter the children's market place for food and entertainment.

In 1963 the one-billionth McDonalds hamburger was served live on TV. The 500th McDonalds restaurant opened in Toledo Ohio and the 500th student graduated from Hamburger University.

Ronald McDonald made his debut in October 1963 in Washington, DC
Ronald's costume was full of surprises. His hat resembled a tray, which held a styrofoam burger, bag of fries, milk shake, shoes like buns and a nose made out of a McDonalds cup. Ronald's belt displayed a styrofoam hamburger.

In 1965 the McDonald corporation went public.
Also in 1965 Ronald became the national spokesperson for the McDonald chain.

In 1967 McDonalds assets exceed $100 million and McDonalds stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 1968 the 1,000th restaurant opened in DesPlaines, Ill and the Big Mac Sandwich was introduced.

In 1969 McDonalds started a new search for a new promotion company.
Needham, Harper and Steers were hired and they immediately went to work to launch a McDonald TV commercial.

1970 the first McDonalds commercial appeared with signing employees dressed in uniforms. Needham also created McDonaldland, which included an array of storybook characters. The lineup included;
Hamburglar, Mayor McCheese, Grimace and Officer Big Mac. These characters quickly became famous and were loved and adored by children.

1970's Hamburglar / 1993 German Snow Dome

In 1971 McDonalds has gone global and opened restaurants in Japan, Holland, Germany, Panama, Guama and Australia.

1975 McDonalds celebrated its 20th anniversary and 10,000 students have graduated from the Hamburger University.

1978 the introduction of the Happy Meal took McDonalds history by storm. The first promotion started in Kansas City and was called "CIRCUS WAGON". The toy resembled a toy box with a round top like a lunch box.

In 1980 McDonalds went International in the following countries, Australia, the Caribbean, Hong Kong, Latin American and New Zealand.

In 1984 Ray Kroc passed away and Ronald McDonald Children's Charities (RMCC) was founded in his memory. The name of the charity later changed to "Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).

By the end of 1987 McDonalds had served 20 million people a day in nearly 10,000 restaurants in 47 countries.

The 1990's would prove to be a booming year for McDonalds. McDonalds was announced as the Official Restaurant for the Atlanta Olympics. The first Ronald McDonald House was opened in Paris. Ty, Inc. and McDonalds would produce a new line called Teenie Beanies that would turn out to be McDonalds hottest promotion ever!

1983 UK Ronald McDonald Pen Friends / 1988 UK Ronald Mug and Bowl set

Many of McDonalds toys have become very collectible. McDonalds offers a collectibles club and websites for you to view.

Current Happy Meal Collectibles page.

Information on Ronald McDonald House in New York.
Durham Ronald McDonald House

Webpages on Ray Kroc

This article of McDonalds History was written by
Janie Daniels / Ms. Janie May 1999
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Copyright 2004 All rights reserved.