Under The Golden Arches: McDonald's Logos Through The Years

McDonalds is one of the most famous brands in the world, and those golden arches that have come to be synonymous with the company are instantly recognizable all across the planet. But did you know that they once adorned the midsection of an early mascot named Archy? And before Archy, the logo included a mascot named Speedee with a hamburger for a head? The McDonald's logo has evolved in a major way over the years, and we've managed to track down just about every one they've ever had.

Under the Golden Arches: McDonald's Logos through The Years Slideshow

The first McDonald's opened in 1940 in San Bernardino, Calif., but it looked mighty different from today's sleek drive-throughs and specialized in barbecue as well as burgers. In 1948 founders Dick and Mac McDonald established what they called a "Speedee Service System" to hurry along the process of serving their burgers, shakes, and fries (the barbecue was cut out of the menu in order to speed up service time) and they introduced Speedee to help spread the word. But Alka-Seltzer's much more famous mascot was also named Speedy, and he was soon retired.

After Ray Kroc bought the business from the McDonald's brothers in 1961 (he began franchising them for the brothers in 1955), the hunt was on for a new logo. The restaurants were framed by two golden arches and a slanted roof, so that design was incorporated into the new logo, and these two interlocking arches weren't too far off from what we see today, even though it's certainly been streamlined a bit (after a stint plastering the midsection of that other long-forgotten mascot, Archy). By the time the 1970s rolled around, that instantly recognizable "M" had all but been set in stone, but even that's been tweaked over the years.

Click the link above for a journey through the varied history of the McDonald's logo.