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The Sausage Timeline

9th Century B.C. Sausage, one of the oldest forms of processed food, is mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey.

1st Century A.D. Emperor Nero’s cook is credited with making the first “wiener.”

7th Century A.D. Leontius of Neapolis writes of a “string of sausages” in his book, "The Life and Miracles of Symeon the Fool."

1487 The frankfurter was developed in Frankfurt, Germany. The town celebrated the 500th birthday of the hot dog in 1987.

1690’s The popular sausage known as “dachshund” or “little dog” sausage was created by Johann Georghehner, a German butcher.

1805 The people of Vienna claim to be the birthplace of the hot dog. A master sausage maker who studied in Frankfurt, called his sausage “wienerwurst” – wiener comes from Wein, the German name for Vienna and wurst is German for sausage.

1852 The butcher’s guild in Frankfurt introduced a spiced and smoked sausage packed in a thin casing which they called frankfurter. The frankfurter was also known as dachshund sausage.

1860 Wienerwurst became known as “wienie” in America. Wienies and frankfurters do not become “hot dogs” until someone puts them on a bun. That is credited to German immigrants who sold hot dogs along with milk rolls and sauerkraut from pushcarts in New York City.

1867 Charles Feltman, a German butcher, the first Coney Island hot dog stand.

1880 A German peddler, Antonoine Feuchtwanger, sold hot sausages in St. Louis. He provided white gloves to patrons so they would not burn their hands while eating the sausage. Patrons kept walking off with the gloves. His wife suggested using a split bun instead. He asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for assistance. They developed a long soft roll that fit the meat. The hot dog was born.


Herman Schwarz established a German butcher shop and sausage business in San Francisco with his partner Rheinhold Frommer.

1916 An employee of Charles Feltman, Nathan Handwerker, started Nathan’s Famous, Inc.

1928 Ted Wetzel and his partner, Mr. Heim opened Home Sausage Company in San Francisco. Heim is German for “home.”

1939 President Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt wanted to introduce something very American to Britain King George – they served Nathan’s hot dogs at a picnic at their estate in Hyde Park, New York.

1952 John Engelhart begins his apprenticeship with a traditional German butcher in Allemendingen, Germany.

1963 John Engelhart joins his father-in-law, Ted Wetzel, at Home Sausage Co.

1990 Home Fine Sausage enters into an investment/private label arrangement with Leon of Leon’s BBQ, Inc.

1997 John Engelhart moves to Chair and installs his son, Robert, as CEO of Home Fine Sausage – and thus the third generation takes the lead.

1998 Home Sausage Co. purchases cross-the-street competitor, Schwarz Sausage Company. The companies operate in two plants.

1999 Home Sausage Co. purchases Le Pique-Nique, an Oakland, California-based poultry sausage manufacturer.

1999 John and Margaret retire from the day-to-day running of the plant.

2003 The combined company builds a new facility in Fairfield, California and merge two companies into the “big kitchen.”

2004 The company is renamed Engelhart Gourmet Foods, Inc. and supports three brands: Home Sausage, Schwarz Sausage and Le Pique-Nique.

2005 Engelhart Gourmet acquires Leon’s BBQ line of barbeque sauces and rubs.

Note: Much of this timeline is based on material found on author Linda Stradley’s website What's Cooking America,