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The Perfect Patty!

May 26, 2022

May kicks off the busiest grilling and barbecuing season of the year. May is also National Hamburger Month where we celebrate this humble meat that became a worldwide sensation.

Have you ever wondered about the origins of America's favorite sandwich?

Recently on one of our weekly delivery trips Beth read the following article to me from the Meat & Poultry magazine - there was no name attached to the article so I will just type it out for you here....

"Sometimes it's the little things that make a big impact on history. When it comes to the origin of the hamburger, there are some disputes as to where and when the popular Hamburger Steak was first put between two pieces of bread and turned into the popular hand-held dish so many people enjoy today - most historians say it was between 1885 and 1904.

Some say it happened at the Erie County Fair in 1885, others say a Texas cook named Fletcher Davis was the first to serve hamburger steak between two pieces of Texas toast. And, then there's Billy Ingram, founder of White Castle who launched his business in 1921 selling small, square hamburger "sliders" by the sack full.

When it comes to the mass production of hamburger patties, another name is found in the history books - Harry H. Holly.

Holly had been working as a structural iron worker when the Depression hit in the late 1920s. After losing his job and struggling to find another, he and his wife opened a hamburger shop under the back stairs of his grandmother's home in Calumet City, Ill. Despite the challenging times, his business grew.

However, he soon realized that molding the burgers by hand took to much time and didn't allow for any consistency in size and shape of the patties he was making. In 1937, Holly built a wooden squeeze press using the rim of a dinner plate as a form and molded the patties by pulling a lever. After tweaking his prototype a few times, he patented the machine.

He then sold his hamburger business and started building steel versions of his patty forming machine and Hollymatic Corp. was born. The company celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2017.

Today, Hollymatic and its sister companies Rollstock, NuTec Manufacturing, Former and Patty Paper, create machines for every part of the meat processing line."


What an awesome story! While the invention of the patty machine was certainly the central point of the article - what impressed me the most was that he did not lose hope or give up during very difficult times and actually created a product that impacts our lives on a very regular basis.

Reminds me of the saying: "When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Lemonade."

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Ben Simmons

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