A Brief History of Charles Feltman

Posted by Michael Quinn on

The incredible taste of Feltman’s is due to the pioneering work of the late German-American baker Charles Feltman. Feltman cemented his place in history as the man who would go on to invent one of America’s favorite foods: the hot dog.

In 1841, Feltman was born in Germany. As a teenager, he emigrated to the United States. Already having an understanding of the frankfurter, Feltman seized upon the knowledge of his native soil and his experience as a baker, opening his own pushcart pie wagon on New York’s Coney Island in 1867 where he would sell his product to beachgoers. Two years later, he decided to reinvent the frankfurter in a way that would allow it to be conveniently held and consumed at the beach. Dubbing it “Coney island red hot”, it quickly became the talk of the town. Despite Feltman naming his unique food invention, it took a bit of time before the public ultimately agreed to name the frankfurter the name we all know today as the “hot dog”.

During the 1870s, Feltman expanded his business into a full-fledged restaurant which by the 1920s had served well over four million people. Unfortunately, Feltman passed away in 1910, leaving the responsibility of business operations to his family, namely his sons Charles L. and Alfred F. Feltman. In 1946, business operations switched hands after Feltman’s grandson Charles A. sold the business to American hotelier Alvan Kallman. The restaurant ultimately ceased operations in the early 1950s.

Fun fact: much like his inventor grandfather, Charles A. also became famous as the inventor of the Shooting Star Tommy Gun, frequently used in amusement park attractions.