Thompson's Lunch Room

Manufacturer: W.H. Grindley, England
User: Thompson's Lunch Room
Pattern: Thornley
Date: circa 1908 - 1920
Notes: John R. Thompson moved to Chicago in 1891 and opened his first restaurant on State Street. By 1914, Thompson incorporated with 68 lunchrooms and a commissary, as well as a chain of grocery stores, later expanding throughout the United States and Canada. By the mid-1920s, the company had become one of the largest lunchroom chains of the early 20th Century, competing nationally with Childs and Waldorf Lunch.

The chain continued successfully through the 1950s, acquiring other lunchrooms such as Raklios and Henrici's. By the mid-1950s, Thompson's migrated away from lunchrooms and embraced the cafeteria concept, operating Holloway House and Ontra cafeterias in 1956.

In 1969, Thompson's sales exceeded $31 million as a restaurant chain and frozen-food processor. At that time, the company owned nearly 100 restaurants, including Henrici's, the Red Balloon Family restaurant chain and the Little Red Hen Country Chicken outlets.

In January 1971, the Green Giant Company agreed to purchase the Thompson Company through an exchange of stock and the stockholders accepted this agreement later that same year.

Early chains: John R. Thompson, Jan Whitaker's Restaurant-ing through History Blog
"Green Giant Set to Buy Food Chain: John R. Thompson Co. will be Acquired in Stock Deal," New York Times, 01/06/1971
"Companies Take Actions on Mergers", New York Times, 07/17,1971

White body with a dark green ornamental scroll border. Topmarked Thompson's in dark green script lettering. McNicol China also produced a similar pattern design for Thompson's with the McNicol Liberty Vitrified China backstamp circa 1920s-1930s.

For related info:
Thompson's Lunch Room 2 by McNicol China
Thompson's Lunch Room 3 by Carr China

Full plate photo contributed by reddygal
ID and all other photos contributed by kathleen

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