The Three Types of Howard Johnson'S "Simple Simon" Logo Ho-Jo'S Weathervanes Below Date From the 1960's and feature Simple Simon with the Pieman and the Lamplighter.

While weathervanes had graced the couple of restaurant design used by Howard Johnson's over the early years using Simple Simon and the pieman, the style of the later period was a classic of brand recognization icons. While some of these classics were installed over the older classic Colonial restaurant style design, most of these classic gems were installed during the main expansion period of the chain that started during the late 1950's with the Rufus Nims designed Restaurants style.

The clean lines of the  new restaurant design incorporated Landmark Restaurant Supply's hefty booth tables with streamlined electric lights, and at the Ice-cream bar's, nicely suspended and comfortable stools. Most of these locations included a round multi person booth in the first window side corner. Landmark Fixtures comfortable seating chairs and deep booths, made a relaxing dinner possible. Landmark Fixtures were built with style and built to last.

Rounding out the Nims Restaurant, included the typical traffic pattern and dining room layouts and furnishings, and the ideal locations for the Cash register/ hostess stations, ice-cream take home case and gift shop areas, these are the signature elements of what made a Howard Johnson'S a Ho-Jo'S . Included in the plan were the clean toreasso floors, inside and the pieman logo door plate stating the location outside by the door, and high above the restaurant and easy to see from the highway, was the cupola,. Ho-Jo'S always had cupolas in the early days including a clock now without a clock, Simple Simon meets the Pieman on a Six Foot Aqua-Green stylized narrow Cupola.

Until many of these traditions were replaced by "The Electric Beacon" which incorporated the style of the narrow cupolas but were lighted fixtures and by design would not support the weathervanes weight or the torsion it would place the beacon under as the wind did its stuff.

The beacons were installed during the so-called Environmental-ization Process that many Restaurants and Lodges were put through in the mid 1970's where white was painted brown, wood attached to brick face and stone locations and the replacement of many copula's with beacons.

These Original Weathervanes Are Very Popular And Bring High Prices At Auction. But A Few Still Continue to Grace the Sky, or Enjoy life in a Private Collection.

 

Restaurant Design for Those Located in or around a Ho-Jo'S Motor Lodge Complex Ho-Jo'S Motor Lodge

Gate House Lamp Lighter Design

 

Stand-Alone Restaurant Design

For Restaurant only Location

General Un-documented History:

I do not know who manufactured the weathervanes as I have never seen any documentation about them,  Nor do I know who came up with the three designs, but they were based upon the original John Alcott 1930's logo design. Who cut the patterns and the steel is lost to time.

I have been told by a former owner that they were fabricated in-house at Ho-Jo'S Corporate Head-Quarters in Mass.  Others say they were custom built by the Landmark Fixture Corporation, which I always thought was just another wholly owned Ho-Jo'S Company,  and maybe also located at corp HQ, or at the Brockton Kitchen location. 

In any event the  weathervanes are very simple in their design and construction.

The three classic design weathervanes are made from sheet steel, and standard pipe.  The shapes are either stamped-out or cut with a torch from sheet metal in the shapes of the arrow point,, and the arrow tail as well as the Simple Simon, the Dog,,  and the Pieman characters,  the Dogs tail, and Lamp housing at the top including the sign hangers left and right,

 The lamp Post is a flattened pipe tube at which the lamp housing is welded to the top of the post. the sheet metal items are welded on to the Arrow stem. the arrow stem is sometimes rounded pipe, or flat iron.

 the Light housing is welded onto a flattened top of the shaft, Spot welds hold Simons finger and the Pieman's goods tray to the post.  In the Lamp Lighter Design used on Ho-Jo'S Motel Lodges Gate Houses,  Simple Simon's finger and the lamp lighters rod are each spot welded to the Lamp post for added stability.  In the Stand-Alone Restaurant design example there is no pole to stabilize the characters so Simons finger is welded to the Pie Man's tray by a bent strip of sheet metal.

The Stand Alone Restaurant design had different patterned Simple Simon'S,  his Dog, and Pie man then the Lodge Restaurants did.  It's amazing how much detail was put into the units even with the Simple constructions methods employed.

Never the less these guys are durable, as evident by the fact that the weathervanes in some locations have lived almost 20 years longer then the restaurants  they watched over, And all this without any maintenance. 

All 3 styles shared common mounting elements. The six foot tall thin cupola was capped with a square copper plug. The 10 foot mounting rod that was affixed to the roof below protruded through the cap and allowed the Saturn,, cardinals and vane to be mounted. 

Original Design Examples below are still flying on former locations on former colonial design buildings

 

Two earlier versions of the Ho-Jo'S Logo Weathervane existed with a different Simple Simon, his dog and the Pieman, but both of these designs featured a 3-d Lamp post. These Weathervanes were cast iron, black, with a gold painted steel cut-out of Simon,  The Pieman and the dog.   A second version of this design just after W.W. II was identical to the earlier versions in construction, but different versions of the characters were used and made from cast aluminum. The latter on the left shows a move toward the Pieman of the 50's and beyond. The older Pieman has a rounded back.

 

Restoration Project Goals:

My Personal Goal Is To Own One of Each OF The 1960's Three Styles.

I own one each of the two Restaurant design style versions. I have restored one as documented here, and will shortly start the second project. The goal is to display if not fly the three originals in a archival setting with any and al documentation I can pull together.

 

I am still Looking For One Of The Lamp Lighter Ho-Jo'S Motor Lodge Gate House Styles. If you have one or know of e-mail me.