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Cafe Asbestos: 1949

Cafe Asbestos: 1949

July 6, 1949. "Johns-Manville Research Laboratory, Finderne, N.J. Cafeteria II. Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, architect." Gottscho-Schleisner photo. View full size.


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A Taller Order

Shreve, Lamb & Harmon were the architects of the Empire State Building.

Menu rotation -

Yesterday was salisbury steak, today is meatloaf, tomorrow is hamburger, followed by hamburger steak. Same meat - eat it up today or face your destiny.

Juice Drinks

Tomato juice, orange juice, but what is the dark stuff?, prune juice?

Soot so soon?

Presumably this was shot before or soon after it opened. But look at the amount of staining already around the air-handling fixtures in the ceiling.


I had years of good lunches in a corporate cafeteria using exactly the same hardware. Except very often you'd pick out a nice cherry pie and it was always rhubarb. The cashier will have been there ever since you joined the company and never leaves.

Nice touch

Cool, clean, steel surfaces and BING! Phony roses on the fridge bring warmth to it all.

I think I'll have Cold Cuts and Pot. Sal. for lunch.

All grown up

Remembering the first time I went though a line like this and paid for my selection with money I had earned myself. I was so proud. Wages matched the meal prices, but you received fair value--food was well-prepared, tasty and plentiful. Servers wore hairnets and no hair on the face. Cleanliness was mandatory with employees and the facility.

Sad to think

In this day and age, who among us wouldn't be happy with ten times those prices?

In today's dollar

That $1.20 lunch(s) is a $12.00 lunch(s) in todays dollar value.

Cold soup?

The sign says one of the choices was cold soup. I wonder if they were serving gazpacho or perhaps cold borscht; or did they just not warm up the soup of the day? And did it cost less if the soup was cold?

Campus still exists

At 10 Finderne Ave, #B, Bridgewater, NJ; occupied by the US headquarters of Henkel Corp.


Oh god, the pie. I'm getting hungry just looking at that almost 66-year old slices of pie. I hope there's some rhubarb, maybe a mince with rum sauce.


That buck twenty on the cash register must have paid for two lunches. And I just love those sandwich triangles on the top shelf: they look like an orderly group standing at attention, or a modern art installation.

Bill of Fare

What, no Salisbury Steak?!

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