Vintage photos offer a glimpse into the bygone era of drive-in restaurants, 1920s-1950s

During the 1920s, car ownership exploded. Every day consumers were earning more money and families were able to buy vehicles. In turn, businesses such as drive-in movie theaters and restaurants became more popular.

After all, if the notion that drives motorists to the open road in the first place, namely the desire for independence and personal liberty, can be extended beyond the car to a variety of activities involving travel, then money will have to be made.

Drive-in eateries date back to 1921 when a Texas chain of restaurants called the Pig Stand began incorporating the practice.

At the drive-in, customers will park their car and be immediately met by carhops who will take orders and deliver them to the kitchen. When the food was ready, the carshop would bring the customer back to the car to enjoy in their vehicle.

This model improved service speed and efficiency. The restaurant continually tried to enhance the concept by increasing the speed of food served to the customers. Hence the roller-skating carhops that became a popular trend across the country.

Soon architects began looking for ways to improve these holiday-inspired structures, making them the perfect mix of form and function.

This included the construction of circular drive-ins, so that carhoppers could reach the car windows from the kitchen more quickly, and adding umbrellas for shelter from the sun.

Eventually, however, drive-in restaurants went into decline, being replaced by the introduction of drive-thrues, which negated the need for hiring carhops and saved money and time.

In drive-thru restaurants, in contrast, customers wait in a line and pass through one or more windows to order, pay, and receive their food.

California-based In-N-Out Burger became one of the first eateries to offer drive-thru services in early 1948, but it was when McDonald's opened its first take-out window in Arizona in 1975 that the real crossover happened. . By that time, drive-in restaurants were already few and far between.

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