"hot dog"--Did Charles Feltman invent this comestible?

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Wed Nov 12 00:57:54 UTC 2003

An article in the Brooklyn Eagle, September 4, 1885, p. 1, refers to Charles Feltman's "twelve years" at Coney Island.  This would put his arrival there in 1874.  The earliest advertisements for his Ocean Pavilion are from June, 1875.  The ad from June 28, 1875 doesn't suggest a joint that would serve hot-dogs.  "A handsome and beautiful decorated ball room, large dining room, excellent bar, shooting gallery, swings, large sheds, &c., are on the premises; also has an excellent band of music, being engaged for the entire season; dancing daily from 2 to 10 1/2 P. M; on Thursday and Saturday nights a ball."  Brooklyn Eagle, June 28, 1875, p. 3

An article from the winter of 1886 described a meeting of Coney Island businessmen who were gathered to deplore the uncouth crowds being carried to the shore by the new railroads.  "Sausage stands" were among the things specifically deplored, and Charles Feltman was one of the deplorers.  "During the last two years there have been a large number of little booths, sausage stands, photograph shops, whirligigs, and other small enterprises, which have acted as a great detriment to the welfare of business interests here. *** Mr. [Charles] Feltman broached the sausage stand nuisance, condemning it."   Brooklyn Eagle, February 9, 1886, p. 2

"His Summer diet of Frankfurters and bretzels [sic] has had the effect of reducing his weight considerably. . . ."  Brooklyn Eagle, October 12, 1885, p. 2.  This refers to a cop whose beat included Coney Island.

The Brooklyn Eagle database stops at 1902, and thus does not include an obituary of Feltman.  The September 4, 1885 article mentioned above gives a pretty extensive biography, with reference to his original business, abakery, and how a trip to Coney Island to try to sell his baked goods led him to open his resort and turn his bakery over to relatives.  The words "hot dog" or "hotdog" do not appear, in the sense of a comestible.

George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.

----- Original Message -----
From: Gerald Cohen <gcohen at UMR.EDU>
Date: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 1:00 pm
Subject: "hot dog"--Did Charles Feltman invent this comestible?

>    This is just a request for background information on "hot dog."
> Many accounts credit Charles Feltman with inventing the hot dog
> (albeit not yet so called)--i.e., the frankfurter in a roll--about
> 1867 at Coney Island.
> Is there any reliable evidence for this? The accounts I have thus far
> are very much hearsay and well after the fact.
>   Am I perhaps overlooking something obvious? Does anyone have access
> to obituaries of Charles Feltman (reportedly died in 1910)?
> Gerald Cohen

More information about the Ads-l mailing list