I was Googling "beanless chili" (trying to get a grasp of the strange psychology of people who love chili but hate beans) (I'm sorry, Texas, this makes no sense to me) and this showed up in the results:
"The Original Ptomaine Tommy"
HOME OF THE ORIGINAL SIZE
2420 N. Broadway
1946 Matchbook cover
Was a 24-hour L.A. chili parlor with the wonderful in-your-face name Ptomaine Tommy's. He invented the chili size, a burger patty smothered in chili (chili burger), in the 1920s. His real name was Tommy DeForest, and from 1913 to 1958, he was the major-domo of local burgerdom. More than likely, DeForest, who claimed Mae West, Mary Pickford, and Dorothy Lamour as regulars, was the restaurateur who popularized the ladling of a masa-thickened, beanless chili on a burger.
Ptomaine Tommy, once proprietor of the largest and best known chili parlor in the city. Ptomaine Tommy served straight chili and a Southwestern variation, a hamburger smothered with chili. He had two ladles, a large and a small. When a customer ordered straight chili, he got out the large ladle. When he wanted the other, he usually said “Hamburger size.” So Ptomaine Tommy put up one sign that read HAMBURGER SIZE 15¢, and another that read CHILI SIZE 20¢. Other chili joints followed suit and before long chili was known throughout Los Angeles as “size”. They'd say, “Just gimme a bowl of size.”
Tommy's closed because of financial troubles, and Tommy died a week later.
To this day Los Angeles is rife with burger joints named Tom’s, Tommy's, Tummy's, Tammies, or Big Tommy's. Some may descend from Ptomaine Tommy's, while others claim a lineage that dates to a Greek immigrant named Tommy Koulax who, in a 1946 bid for differentiation, opened a burger stand that he dubbed Tommy's Original.