In its home country of Germany, the hot
dog was called the frankfurter. It was named after Frankfurt, a German city.
Frankfurters were first sold in the
United States in the 1860s. Americans called frankfurters "dachshund
sausages." A dachshund is a dog from Germany with a very long body and
short legs. "Dachshund sausage" seemed like a good name for the
Dachshund sausages first became popular
in New York, especially at baseball games. At games they were sold by men who
kept them warm in hot-water tanks. As the men walked up and down the rows of
people, they yelled, "Get your dachshund sausages! Get your hot dachshund
sausages!" People got the sausages on buns, a special bread.
One day in 1906 a newspaper cartoonist
named Tad Dorgan went to a baseball game. When he saw the men with the
dachshund sausages, he got an idea for a cartoon. The next day at the newspaper
office he drew a bun with a dachshund inside--not a dachshund sausage, but a
dachshund. Dorgan didn't know how to spell dachshund. Under the cartoon, he
wrote "Get your hot dogs!"
The cartoon was a sensation, and so was
the new name. If you go to a baseball game today, you can still see sellers
walking around with hot-water tanks. As they walk up and down the rows they
yell, "Get your hot dogs here! Get your hot dogs!"