mcdonalds_1953 estimates that this McDonald’s menu is from around 1953, shortly before the nationwide adjective shortage that made them cool it a little on the prose stylings. I wonder how many wags insisted on using every word when they ordered (“I’ll have a tempting cheeseburger and a thirst-quenching Coke please?”) or asking for the unadorned versions (“Can I have a NON-delightful root beer? Can you pour it in my hand for a nickel?”).

Kottke has also collected some other vintage McDonald’s menus, from the days when they made things out of real food — including this menu for the original 1940 BBQ joint, before hamburgers were even a particular thing.


Maybe the most interesting thing to me is how the prices changed from 1940 to 1953 — or rather, how they didn’t change, despite 13 years of inflation. The “amazing” menu is from the period when the chain was owned by Ray Kroc, who made McDonald’s into the ubiquitous juggernaut of cheap, technically edible food it is today, and that menu seems to exemplify all the decisions that fed into that growth: branding (“the one with the arches”), low prices, and relentless self-promotion.