A. (Arthur) Bernie Wood (1921-1986) was an advertising designer, consultant, and inventor actively involved in the development of the restaurant franchise industry in America during the 1960s and 1970s. Particularly notable is his work with marketing, promotion, and merchandising for the McDonald's Corporation during its formative years.
Scope and Contents:
The collection documents the post-war development of the franchise business system from an insider's view. Wood participated in almost all aspects of franchising activities from design to ownership. The materials consist of a wide variety of corporate identity elements--primarily visual--developed by Wood under contract to various corporations in the food service industry. Wood delivered his services in design concepts and graphics for advertisers and industrial firms using photo graphics and lithographic media.
Series 7: Audio and Moving Image Materials, 1963, 1964, 1968
Subseries 1: Audio Materials, 1963, 1964, 1968
Subseries 2: Moving Image Materials, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Arthur Bernie Wood (1921-1986) was born in Council Grove, Kansas. Wood graduated from Central High School in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1939 and subsequently attended several junior colleges and business and trade schools. Wood held a variety of positions in typesetting and lithographic services from 1940 until military service in the United States Navy (1942-1945). In the Navy, Wood served as a Laboratory Technician, 1st Class Photographic Specialist at the Naval Air Station, Glenview, Illinois. While in the Navy, Wood produced patentable material for a photo-litho process for instant printing techniques through photosynthesis. After being discharged from the Navy, Wood worked for an art studio that serviced advertising agencies. This work involved reproduction art, direct mailing services, mail order books, and newspaper art for Marshall Field's. From 1958 to 1960, Wood established the A. Bernie Wood Studio in Chicago to provide finished photographic art for leading advertising and print publications and television.
In 1961, Wood founded Admart, Inc., Advertising. As the president and creative director of Admart, he created, promoted, and merchandised the new fast-food corporate image of McDonald's Carry-Out Restaurants. While working for McDonald's, Wood designed interior food service floor plans, a logotype, direct mailing materials, posters, newspaper mat campaigns, and radio taped productions (1963-1964). Wood obtained several patents--beverage cup holder (1964), candy box (1967), finger-grip food product containers (1967), and a refreshment tray-forming template (1964) and trademarks--"Chick'n-2-Go" (1968);"NEATRAE" (1967); and "Ma and Pa's Country Candy Store" (1966). Wood, and Donald Conley formed Neat Containers Associates to promote the use of "Neatrae" and license it.
In 1965, Wood founded a franchise business called Ma and Pa's Country Candy Stores in Arlington Heights, Illinois, which he owned and operated with his wife Marilyn until 1972. They also owned another unit in Long Grove, Illinois. As the director and co-founder of this franchise, Wood was responsible for creating names, trademarks, copyrights, and image materials. He sold franchise rights to others, and there were other Ma and Pa's Country Candy Stores located in the United States, especially in St. Louis. He also designed store interiors and exteriors for other clients and supervised construction. From 1964 to 1965, Wood was a freelance designer and consultant on design, marketing, and franchising issues for restaurants and drive-ins. Other corporate images designed by Wood include: Prince Castle, Neba Roast Beef, and Friar Fish's Fish and Chips. Wood expressed his goal to design an image/logo as one "that would be recognized and one that would relate to products, packaging, properties, people, procedures and promotion. Put together, these elements communicated and coordinated the corporate image."
Wood also developed the concept Dial "All Wood," the use of a memorable association of letters rather than phone numbers (255-9663) and requesting specific phone numbers from the local Illinois Bell Telephone.
Wood married Marilyn Dewar (1923-1981) on May 27, 1942, in Kansas City, Missouri. They had five children: Ronald W.; Rhonda C.; Randall S.; Rayne Ann; and Rodger L.
Wood died on April 5, 1986.
The collection was donated by Rayne Ann Wood, daughter of A. Bernie Wood, on February 25, 2007.
Collection is open for research but is stored off-site and special arrangements must be made to work with it. Contact the Archives Center for information at email@example.com or 202-633-3270.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning intellectual property rights. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
This collection contains a variety of business ephemera similar to that found in the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana. The material in the Business Americana Collection is newly acquired ephemera received from many sources including curatorial units, the public, and Smithsonian Institution staff.
Scope and Contents:
An artificial collection of material organized with the same subject headings as the Warshaw Collection, i.e., generally by product type. Additional subject headings will be added as needed. New material, much of it from the second half of the twentieth century, is added regularly to this collection. This collection is sometimes informally called "Warshaw Junior" by the staff and researchers.
This collection is arranged by subject categories.
Biographical / Historical:
This collection contains miscellaneous business ephemera. The material is similar to that found in the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, but no new material is incorporated into the Warshaw Collection. The material in the Archives Center Business Americana Collection is newly acquired ephemera received from many sources, including curatorial units, the public, and Smithsonian staff.
The records provide rich research material on many stories, including: American invention, enterprise, and entrepreneurship; the origins and growth of franchising; popular food and culture; the development of roadside architecture; radio and television advertising; product marketing and promotion; regional studies; and gender issues such as beauty pageants and the role of women in the labor force.
Divided into 14 series.
Series 1: Tom Carvel Personal Information, 1917-1986
Series 2: Financial Information, 1969-1985
Series 3: Educational Information for Franchise Owners, 1954-1984
Series 4: Employee Magazines, 1956-1989
Series 5: Publicity Materials, 1950-1985
Series 6: Advertising Campaign Materials, 1957-1989
Series 7: Promotional Items, 1951-1986
Series 8: Store and Equipment Records, 1945-1973
Series 9: Vending Vehicles, 1958-1961
Series 10: Store Address Information, 1980s
Series 11: Photographs, 1936-1985
Series 12: Dugan's Bakery and Hubie Burger Records, 1950s-1960s
Series 13: Non-Carvel Franchise Information, 1950-1988
Series 14: Audiovisual Materials, 1972-1995
Biographical / Historical:
The Carvel Corporation is an American success story. Through hard work and timely luck, its founder and president, Tom Carvel, turned an ice cream trailer with a flat tire into an international chain of ice cream supermarkets with over 800 outlets in 17 states and six countries.
Thomas Andreas Carvelas was born July 14, 1906, in Athanassos, Greece. He was one of seven children of Andreas and Christina Karvelas. The family emigrated from Greece to Danbury, Connecticut, in 1910, and finally settled in New York City in 1920. His father was a chemist and wine specialist who helped support his family during prohibition by restoring fermented wine for Greek restaurant owners.
Tom's father sparked Tom's interest in how things worked. Tom tried his hand as a salesman of radios and automobiles, a test driver for Studebaker, and an auto mechanic. At the age of twenty-six, he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, and his doctors advised him to move out of the city. Consequently, he borrowed $1,000 from relatives and built a frozen custard trailer. His first break came on Memorial Day, 1934, when he borrowed $20 from Agnes Stewart (his future wife), bought a trailer load of custard, and set out to sell it to vacationers in Westchester County, New York. Tom Carvel suffered a minor setback when his trailer had a flat tire in Hartsdale, New York. But luck was on his side: there was a pottery shop across the street and Pop Quinlan, the potter, allowed him to use his electricity so the custard would not melt.
Tom Carvel kept his trailer on the pottery shop's lot and in his first year grossed $3,500. The following year, realizing that a permanent location could be profitable, he leased the shop for $100. In 1937, he borrowed more money and converted the trailer into a frozen custard stand, complete with a second-hand freezer which enabled him to make his own custard. By 1939, he was grossing $6,000 a year and was well on his way toward becoming the "Ice Cream King of the East."
In the early 1940s Agnes, his wife, operated the Hartsdale store while Carvel traveled the carnival circuits selling his frozen custard from a mobile vending vehicle. Next, he managed the ice cream cone stands at the post exchange at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Tom Carvel soon developed his own freezer model, known as a batch freezer, (the first of his sixteen U.S. Patent Registrations). In 1947, he sold 71 freezers at $2,900 each under the trade name "Custard King." When some owners defaulted on their payments Carvel discovered that many of the freezer owners were careless in their selection of locations, disregarded cleanliness, and worked sporadically, while others were selling additional, non-ice cream food items. Determined to make the venture succeed, he decided to oversee the operations of the freezer owners directly. He claimed to have developed the franchise concept in 1949 as a result of this strategy.
Franchise business opportunities allow investors to enter retailing without prior business experience and to own their own business. In the case of the Carvel Corporation, potential franchise owners bought equipment and supplies from the Corporation and used the Carvel name. In return, Carvel helped them select a location, taught them how to run an ice cream business, and organized resources for advertising and promotions. Franchise owners were taught the retail ice cream business at the Carvel College, an 18-day series of courses for potential store owners. There they learned about public relations, mechanics of the ice cream machines, local advertising, and making and freezing all kinds of ice cream cakes. They also received The Shopper's Road, an in-house magazine advising them on topics ranging from travel tips, to cooking, to marketing their products to the community.
From the beginning, the Carvel Dairy Freeze Chain stressed cleanliness, hard work, and a quality, all-natural product. Tom Carvel aimed to create a family-type environment for his franchise owners. He wanted people who would work hard and were eager to learn about the retail ice cream business in order to make their individual rags to riches stories come true. A unique and important element to the Carvel story was Tom Carvel's personal involvement --from an early date--in creating commercials for the stores. His was one of the first instances in which a Chief Executive Officer of a major corporation was featured in his company's commercials. In 1955, Carvel began making his own radio commercials. As the story goes, one day while driving in New York City he heard a commercial for a new Carvel store, but the announcer did not state its exact location. Convinced he could do a better job, he drove to the radio station and re-did the commercial himself. After this incident he started doing his own commercials on a full-time basis. Tom Carvel created a distinct style with his garbled delivery and "say it once" philosophy, with the idea that you have to grab people's attention and then let the product speak for itself. Carvel eventually set up an in-house production studio and advertising agency at the Carvel Inn, where most of his television and radio commercials were made.
The use of premiums was an essential marketing component for Carvel. In 1936, he introduced the "Buy One Get One Free" offer. He also used comic books, ice cream eating contests, and a beauty pageant for young girls, called the "Little Miss Half Pint Contest," to attract children. The Carvel Corporation also participated as a corporate sponsor for events like Walt Disney's "Great Ice Odyssey," "Carvel Night at the Rodeo," and numerous promotional tie-ins with the New York Yankees baseball team. Of all the sales promotions, it was the specialty products which brought the greatest notoriety to the Carvel name. From the "Flying Saucer" ice cream sandwich and the "Papapalooza" to the holiday and character ice cream cakes, customers could always count on a quality product. There were ice cream cakes for every holiday, including a "Flower Basket" for Mother's Day, "Fudgie the Whale" for Father's Day, "Tom the Turkey" for Thanksgiving, and a "Snow Man" for Christmas. Eventually, a customer could special order an ice cream cake for any occasion, using a toll-free phone number.
The Carvel Corporation enjoyed continued success and consistent expansion marked by Tom Carvel's innovative concepts in marketing. For example, in 1956, the Hartsdale location was converted into the first ice cream supermarket. Each store remained a full-service ice cream parlor, but now had the added convenience of self-serve freezers where customers could select ice cream specialty products such as Flying Saucers, Carvelogs, Brown Bonnets, and ice cream cakes.
In 1962, the Corporation experienced a crisis. Many franchise owners had begun buying cheaper ingredients and the chain was reduced to 175 stores. This potentially meant financial catastrophe for Tom Carvel and the company because it derived its profits from selling equipment and special mixes to store owners. Carvel insisted the franchise owners had obligations to the company and its customers to provide a uniform, quality product. Furthermore, the franchise owners had agreed to purchase raw ingredients from Carvel. When the Corporation tried to enforce this agreement, the Federal Trade Commission charged Carvel with allegations of coercion and restraint of trade. In 1964, after presenting his side before the full Federal Trade Commission and the Supreme Court, he won his case.
In 1967, Carvel purchased the Westchester Town House Motel, in Yonkers, New York, and changed the name to the Carvel Inn. It was both a full-service motel and the Executive Offices of the Carvel Corporation. It was here that store owners gathered for the annual educational seminars which reinforced the ideas taught by the Carvel College.
In the 1950s Tom Carvel had also developed the franchise concept for a hamburger chain called Hubie Burger. It served hamburgers, french fries, chicken, and waffles. It is ironic that Carvel began the Hubie Burger chain because at a dairy convention in 1956, Ray Kroc asked him if he was interested in setting up the McDonald's chain. It is said that at this time Carvel felt ice cream and hamburgers did not compliment each other and declined the offer. However, Carvel claimed to have given McDonald's permission to use the basic text of his franchise contract and his building design as models. Later, Carvel acquired Dugan's Bakery. However, neither Dugan's nor Hubie Burger was very successful.
Through his strong work ethic, creativity, and perseverance, Tom Carvel built up his ice cream chain and turned his dreams into reality. His achievements were recognized in 1957 when he was awarded the Horatio Alger Award. Carvel credited his success to his father and his wife, Agnes. His father sparked his interest in chemistry and engineering and his wife worked in the first Carvel store, which allowed him time to develop the Carvel Corporation Franchise System. In 1989, he sold the Carvel Corporation to an international investment company, Investcorp, for more than 80 million dollars. Tom Carvel died in 1990. The Carvel name lives on through the Carvel Ice Cream Bakery Company, operated by Investcorp.
The Archives Center holds many collections related to ice cream and the food industry including:
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Series: Diary (AC0060)
Faris and Yamna Naff Arab-American Collection (see waffle cone machine) (AC0078)
Famous Amos Collection (AC0112)
Sam DeVincent Collection of Ilustrated American Sheet Music (see Ice Cream) (AC0300)
Good Humor Collection (AC0451)
Eskimo Pie Collection (AC0553)
Krispy Kreme Donut Corporation Records (AC0594)
These records were generously donated to the Archives Center by Mrs. Agnes Carvel, in May 1993.
Collection is open for research.
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction of some materials restricted due to copyright or trademark.
Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.