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PHILA. BADGE CO. INC. PHILA, PA
The "Big Whitey" was a hamburger made by White Tower restaurants. White Tower was created in 1926 after Milwaukee dance hall owner John Saxe and his son Thomas visited several successful White Castle restaurants. The duo unabashedly copied the established, successful business by decorating the buildings similarly and borrowed a similar slogan to White Castle’s "Buy 'em by the sack" using "Take Home a Bagful." The restaurant served burgers called “whiteys” in king or regular size, the king sized being dubbed “Big Whitey.”
White Tower restaurants were involved in several civil right issues and lawsuits. In the last 1920s and early 1930s, White Castle successfully sued White Tower for copying its brand. The court sided with White Castle and in 1934 White Tower had to undergo a style change away from it’s medieval look. In 1951, the restaurant was in the news after one of it’s Washington D.C. locations refused to serve a Puerto Rican student and his African-American classmate on a field trip to learn about democracy. In the early 1960s, a Bronx, New York location was picketed by protesters for not hiring minority workers.
In the 50s, the restaurant peaked with 230 locations across the Midwest and east coast and as far south as Sarasota, Florida. By the 1980s, the number of restaurants was down to 80. Today, there is only one White Tower location operating in Toledo, Ohio.
Dunnigan, A. A. (1951, May 11). Youths get bitter lesson in democracy in Washington. Alabama Tribune, 11(5). Retrieved from https://www.newspapers.com/image/554184995
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