A Major Beef! Who Invented the Hamburger?
Nothing is more traditional than a good old burger, but today there are many spin-offs. It's popular to find hamburgers stuffed with all sorts of goodies, or even different types of patties like chicken, turkey or even veggie patties. With all those choices, have you ever stopped to think who might have been behind this American favorite?
Many try to claim the fame for inventing the hamburger. The question is, whose story is the truth? Here are some of the contender's stories:
- 1885: Charlie Nagreen is said to have served a meatball between two pieces of bread. He accidentally invented the hamburger when he ran out of meatballs and took the leftover ground beef, fried it into a patty, and served it in between two slices of bread.
- 1885: Frank and Charles Menches invented the hamburger in Hamburg, New York. The story says they ran out of pork for their pork sandwiches and switched to ground beef patties at the county fair.
- 1880’s: Fletcher Davis of Athens, Texas opens the first hamburger stand. There is documented proof of this stand, but the photo is dated 1905.
- 1891: Otto Kuase was said to have invented the hamburger with an invention that included a fried egg, which was eventually omitted.
- 1900: Louis Lassen of Louis’ Lunch sold the first hamburger in the United States at the county fair in Connecticut.
It is relatively well accepted that as more German immigrants came to the US, the more popular the hamburg steak became (which was ground beef fried in a patty or what we call today a hamburger patty). As people started working farther and farther away from home, the need for a fast lunch they could eat with their hands.
Street vendors sought to fill this need by stuffing all kinds of meat between two pieces of bread creating the sandwich. There were thousands of street vendors across the United States, which could be why there are many claims to the invention of the hamburger. It is actually, entirely possible that more than one person invented it!
So, you can thank the industrial period of the 1920’s next time you take a big juicy bite of a hamburger.