See also: Ground BeefBurger KingMcDonalds
White Castle; etc


There are 1259 people listed in with the last name 'Hamburger' and 17,617 people with the last name 'Burger'
(Mark Morton, 'Gastronomica', Fall 2010)

     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.
University of California, Davis, Nutrition Department

     According to the Cattlemen's Beef Board and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the hamburger was invented by Fletcher Davis in his small cafe in Athens, Texas in the 1880s. He served his hamburgers on frewh slices of bread with ground mustard and mayonnaise, onion slice and sliced pickles. Supposedly the local townspeople raised money to send him to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where the hamburger made its international debut.

     Supposedly, the first hamburgers in U.S. history were served in New Haven, Connecticut, at Louis' Lunch sandwich shop in 1895. Louis Lassen, founder of Louis' Lunch, ran a small lunch wagon selling steak sandwiches to local factory workers. Because he didn't like to waste the excess beef from his daily lunch rush, he ground it up, grilled it, and served it between two slices of bread -- and America's first hamburger was created.
     The small Crown Street luncheonette is still owned and operated by third and fourth generations of the Lassen family. Hamburgers are still the specialty of the house, where steak is ground fresh each day and hand molded, slow cooked, broiled vertically, and served between two slices of toast with your choice of only three 'acceptable' garnishes: cheese, tomato, and onion.
     Want ketchup or mustard? Forget it. You will be told 'no' in no uncertain terms. This is the home of the greatest hamburger in the world, claim the owners, who are perhaps best known for allowing their customers to have a burger the Lassen way or not at all.

Library of Congress Local Legacies Project

In 1921, Walter A. Anderson (a short-order cook) and E.W. Ingram (an insurance executive) founded White Castle in Wichita, Kansas. It is the oldest hamburger chain. They served steam-fried hamburgers, 18 per pound of fresh ground beef, cooked on a bed of chopped onions, for a nickel.

The Big Mac was introduced in 1968. The price was 49 cents.

In 1999 there were more than 25,000 McDonald's in 115 countries.

Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers comprise 71% of the beef servings in commercial restaurants. (2001)

Burgers account for 40% of all sandwiches sold. (2001)

8.2 Billion burgers were served in commercial restaurants in 2001.

65% of all hamburgers and cheeseburgers are consumed away from home.

The biggest hamburger ever served weighed 8,266 lbs. It was cooked in 2001 at the Burger Fest in Seymour, Wisconsin. Hungry hamburger fans can visit Seymour, the "Home of the Hamburger" and site of the Hamburger Hall of Fame, paying tribute to hamburger inventor Charles Nagreen. According to local legend, Nagreen served the first burger in 1885 at the Outagamie County Fair.
FSA Kids -

Another large hamburger was made in Rutland, North Dakota. In 1982 the town made what was then the World's Largest Hamburger, 3,591 pounds, which was consumed by some 8,000 people.

Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania has offered a 6 pound hamburger, named Ye Olde 96er (6 pounds = 96 ounces) since 1998. It comes garnished with 2 whole tomatoes, 1/2 head of lettuce, 12 slices of American cheese, a cup of peppers, 2 whole onions, plus large quantities of mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. No one has been able to finish one.

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

Liberty Cabbage was the alternative name created during World War I, used to refer to Sauerkraut, to avoid using words from the enemies language. A hamburger was referred to as a 'Liberty Sandwich,' and German Measles were 'Liberty Measles.'


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