Hollymatic Corporation celebrates 80 years in business in 2017. This manufacturing powerhouse, that got its start with the invention of the patty forming machine in 1937, has been cranking out innovative food processing equipment ever since. With over 40 patents, Hollymatic continues to lead the way with game-changing equipment like their new Defender Band Saw that will be introduced at Process Expo 2017. The Defender stops the saw blade within the blink of an eye to improve operator safety. Stop by Booth #2449 to see hourly demonstrations.

Harry Holly, An Ingenious Inventor

Hollymatic had humble beginnings on the southside of Chicago. The year was 1931 when Harry Holly, an out-of-work structural ironworker with a grade school diploma, struggled to find a job during the Great Depression. With no immediate prospects for employment, Harry and his wife opened a hamburger stand under the back stairs of his grandmother’s home in Calumet City, IL.

Harry spent his days racing between the back room, where he formed hamburger patties by using the bottom rim of a dinner plate, to the front of the shop, where he fried burgers and waited on customers.  All the while, his wife, Agnes, baked pies for the shop and cared for their infant daughter who slept in the backroom. And so it went as they grew their business, opening larger locations through 1937.

All that time, from 1931 to 1937, Harry had been molding hamburgers by hand with a dinner plate. He put in 18-hour days at his restaurant; 12 of those hours were spent forming hamburgers in his kitchen. There had to be an easier way. And Harry found it.

Harry Holly built a wooden squeeze press that used the dinner plate rim as a form and molded the hamburgers by pulling a lever. He refined this prototype until it became 75% more time-efficient. After gathering $1,000 in capital, Harry received his first patent in 1937, sold his hamburger business and started manufacturing steel versions of his wooden patty forming machine.

The rest, as they say, was history. Over the ensuing 35 years, Harry added 27 more patents to the original conception, a number of them taking shape on restaurant napkins, paper placemats and hotel stationery while he was selling on the road. By 1972, Harry Holly had grown Hollymatic into the largest manufacturer of food portioning equipment in the world.

1937 – 2017

The past 80 years have been an Evolution of Excellence for Hollymatic. The invention of the first patty former in 1937 led to the development of the Super 54 machine in 1954. The Super 54 was engineered so well that it is still in use today, 63 years later, in restaurants and plants. In 1967, Hollymatic purchased a paper company named Bomarko that was a perfect fit for this patty forming machine manufacturer. Then in 1968, Hollymatic entered the mixing/grinding equipment market as one of its original pioneers. From 1971 through 2000 and into the 21st century, they introduced various sizes of mixer/grinders and portioning equipment that serve small, medium and industrial sized processors today. Marinators, tenderizers, table top grinders, vacuum packaging machines, saws, stuffers and a variety of accessories have rounded out the offerings that Hollymatic has made to the food processing industry over the last 80 years; offerings that have helped grow and advance some of the leading meat processors as well as small “Mom & Pops” all over the world.

And it all started with one man and a hamburger stand.