This article was written by Phin Upham
The American hot dog, staple of baseball, traces its roots back to Austrian immigrants who settled in America during the 19th century. The original hot dog came from the Austrian “wienerwurst,” one of several “old world” sausages. The original sausage is from the same family of meats as the bruhwurst, which is a parboiled sausage. It was made from finely sliced meat, which was sometimes smoked and always heated before serving.
The sausage goes far back in history. Homer wrote about them in the Odyssey, but it’s said that the first hot dog was made in Frankfurt in 1487. The people of Vienna, Austria point to the word “wiener” as evidence that the hot dog was born there.
The reality is that the North American hot dog most likely originated from Europeans claiming several nationalities. The first hot dog sold is also difficult to trace. It may have been sold from a food cart in the 1860s, or it may have originated in a Coney Island hot dog stand in 1871. We do know that Charles Feltman was the first businessman to explore hot dogs as a business.
The hot dog has managed to stay popular because it’s cheap to produce and convenient to eat no matter where you might be. You can get a hot dog, served in a bun and topped generously, then eat it while standing or on your way to work.
The term “hot dog” is undeniably American, and likely a perversion of the German term “dachshund sausage.”
About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media & Technology group. You may contact Phin on his Twitter page.