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Park Forest Historical Society to Present “The History of Hollymatic Corporation” Sunday June 23, 2013

The former site of the Hollymatic Corporation
The former site of the Hollymatic Corporation at North Street and Orchard Drive. (Gary Kopycinski)

Park Forest, IL—(ENEWSPF)—June 9, 2013. The Park Forest Historical Society will present, “The History of Hollymatic Corporation” with speaker Bob Chura, Bobby “The Burger” Chura, as seen on Chicago Tonight, WTTW. The program will be held Sunday June 23, 2013 at 2:30 p.m., in the Park Forest Village Hall Board Meeting Room, 350 Victory Drive, Park Forest, IL 60466. This program is free and open to the public. Information on the program is with Jane Nicoll at 708-481-4252. To read more about the work of the Park Forest Historical Society, and to connect via email, visit parkforesthistory.org.

Mr. Chura will talk about the history of Hollymatic, which had its factory in Park Forest, at the corner of North Street and Orchard Drive, from January 1, 1962 through December, 1982. The building remains, much as it looked in 1982.

Mr. Chura is the great-grandson of Harry Holly, (b. Jan 1, 1906, d. Jan. 1, 1997), who founded Hollymatic in January 1, 1937, after operating a hamburger restaurant in Calumet City from 1929- 1934+, and Harry’s Hamburger shop on the South Side of Chicago, 1934-35+. Mr. Holly patented the hamburger-forming machine he used to make his hamburgers quickly and uniform in size. In 1936, steel models of the unit were made, and the company was called, Holly Machine Devices, Inc.–changed to Hollymatic Corporation in 1937. The steel machines revolutionized the restaurant and fast food industries, being adopted by MacDonald’s, Burger King, and many butcher shops and restaurants. The company moved to Park Forest in 1962 and remained through 1982, with Harry, his three sons and many others running the plant.

Many will remember Mr. Holly purchased a helicopter, and built a large landing area, which the Village later purchased, prompting the early 1960s dedication of the Park Forest Heliport, where Ludemann Center stands today. Hollymatic later produced the paper used to separate hamburgers, and a Mixer Grinder Model 100 launched in 1968, and established a Research and Development Facility in Boca Raton, Florida. In the 1980s Hollymatic was sold to two Hollymatic Dealers, and in 1982, moved to its current location in Countryside, IL. Though the company is no longer in family hands, Mr. Chura is an Account Executive at Berkel Midwest, which rebuilds, repairs and sells his great-grandfather’s invention, the Hollymatic Patty Machine, which has had many patented improvements and additions to the product line over the years.

Mr. Chura’s grandfather was Nick Chura, one of the first Hollymatic dealers, who marketed the machine to the fast-food chains. He is very proud of his family connection, and will be telling us more about the invention and development of the company under the Holly and Chura management. We may even get a look at one of the machines with a demonstration of how it forms hamburgers.

We thank the current Hollymatic Corporation for supplying much of the historic detail and wording, which we quoted liberally in writing this story. You can visit their site to see the online history and to view their current product line, at hollymatic.com.

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