Hot Dog HistorySep 24th, 2009 | By Rich Scherlitz | Category: Featured, History
Claims about the invention of the hot dog are difficult to assess because various stories assert the creation of the sausage, the placing of the sausage (or another kind of sausage) on bread or a bun as finger food, the popularization of the existing dish, or the application of the name “hot dog” to a sausage and bun combination.
The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where sausages in a bun originated, similar to hot dogs, but made of pork. Wieners, refers to Vienna, Austria, whose German name is “Wien”, home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef. In German speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen (Würstchen means “little sausage”). In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.
The city of Vienna traces the lineage of the hot dog to the Wienerwurst or Viennese sausage, the city of Frankfurt to the Frankfurter Wurst, which it claims was invented in the 1480s and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King; the hot dog has also been attributed to Johann Georg Lahner, a 18th/19th century butcher from the Bavarian city of Coburg who is said to have invented the “dachshund” or “little-dog” sausage and brought it from Frankfurt to Vienna.
Around 1870, on Coney Island, German immigrant Charles Feltman began selling sausages in rolls.
Others have supposedly invented the hot dog. The idea of a hot dog on a bun is ascribed to the wife of a German named Antonoine Feuchtwanger, who sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, in 1880, because his customers kept taking the white gloves handed to them for eating without burning their hands. Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger, a Bavarian sausage seller, is said to have served sausages in rolls at the World’s Fair – either the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago or the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis – again allegedly because the white gloves he gave to customers so that they could eat his hot sausages in comfort began to disappear as souvenirs.
The association between hot dogs and baseball began as early as 1893 with Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who owned not only the St. Louis Browns, but also an amusement park.
Harry M Stevens Inc., founded in 1889, serviced major sports venues with hot dogs and other refreshments, making Stevens known as the “King of Sports Concessions” in the US.
In 1916, an employee of Feltman’s named Nathan Handwerker was encouraged by celebrity clients Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to go into business in competition with his former employer. Handwerker undercut Feltman’s by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten. At an earlier time in food regulation the hot dog suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon’s smocks were seen eating at Nathan’s Famous to reassure potential customers.
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