Sausages nurture a glorious track record of witnessing too many 'candles' being lit up. It was mentioned even in Homer's Odyssey as far back as the 9th Century B.C. Though controversy dog its history of
origin, it is one of the oldest forms of processed food that still enjoys a strong popularity. And no one disputes that.
Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, is traditionally credited with the place of birth. However, this claim is disputed by those who assert that the popular sausage--known as a "dachshund" or "little-dog" sausage--was created in the late 1600's by Johann
Georghehner, a butcher, living in Coburg, Germany. According to this report, Georghehner later traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new product.
Actually, in 1987, the city of Frankfurt celebrated the 500th birthday of the hot dog in that city. It's said that the
Frankfurter was developed there in 1484, five years before Christopher Columbus set sail for the new world.
However, Vienna, came up with protests against this German celebration. Because the people of Vienna
(Wien), Austria, point to the term "wiener" to prove their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.
In line with these theory of origin it is likely that the North American hot dog comes from a widespread common European sausage brought here by butchers of several nationalities.
Doubt also looms large over another 'first' about it - the name of the man who first served the dachshund sausage with a roll. One report says a German
immigrant sold them, along with milk rolls and sauerkraut, from a push cart in New York City's Bowery during
the 1860's. In 1871, Charles Feltman, a German butcher opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in a milk roll during his first year in business.
The year, 1893, was an important date in hot dog history. In Chicago that year, the Colombian Exposition brought hordes of visitors who consumed large quantities of sausages sold by vendors. People liked this food. For, it was easy to eat, convenient and inexpensive.
In the same year, sausages turned out to be the standard fare at baseball parks. This tradition was begun by a St. Louis bar owner, Chris Von de
Ahe, who also owned the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team.
The term "hot dog" was coined in 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds. One cold April day, concessionaire Harry Stevens (his company is still in business) was losing money with ice cream and ice cold soda. He sent his
salesmen out to buy up all the dachshund sausages they could find, along with an equal number of rolls. In less than an hour his vendors were hawking hot dogs from portable hot water tanks with "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!"
In the press box, sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan was nearing his deadline and desperate for an idea. Hearing the vendors, he hastily drew a cartoon of barking dachschund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure how to spell "dachshund" he simply wrote "hot dog!" The cartoon was a sensation--and the term "hot dog" was born.
Today's hot dog on a bun was probably introduced during the St. Louis "Louisiana Purchase Exposition" in 1904 by Bavarian concessionaire, Anton
Feuchtwanger. He loaned white gloves to his patrons to hold his piping hot sausages. Most of the gloves were not returned, and the supply began running low. He reportedly asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for help. The baker improvised long soft rolls that fit the meat--thus inventing the hot dog bun.