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The World of Food: The Internet Cookbook - Q&A, Articles, and Interesting Facts

Who Invented Hamburger

It is believed that Hamburger was originally invented in Hamburg, Germany. It is reported to have first appeared in the United States - in New Haven, Connecticut, at Louis' Lunch sandwich shop in 1895.

The word hamburger probably existed by the end of the Middle Ages. In 1802 the Oxford English Dictionary defined 'Hamburg steak' as salt beef. Referring to ground beef as 'hamburger' dates to the invention of the mechanical meat grinder during the 1860s. 'Filet de boeuf a la Hambourgeoise,' was sold in Boston in 1874, while Hamburger Beef Steak appeared on the Lookout House Restaurant menu in Cincinnati, Ohio, in the mid-1870s.

During the last years of the 19th century ground round or hamburger became associated with a hot sandwich, and early 20th century illustrations depict hamburger served on sliced white bread or toast. 'Hamburger Steak, Plain' and 'Hamburger Steak, with Onions,' was served at the Tyrolean Alps Restaurant at the 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair. The modern hamburger (on a bun) appears during World War I. The White Castle restaurant chain was established in 1916 at Wichita, Kansas and by the early 1920s sold hamburgers. Some scholars say the first hamburger served on a bun appeared in 1917 at Drexel's Pure Food Restaurant, Chicago. By 1920 hamburgers on buns were sold in San Francisco and Cincinnati, and by the mid-1920s, hamburgers were recognizable to most Americans.

The Hamburger hall of fame is located in Seymour, Wisconsin.

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