History of the Burger

A Burger Story

Though the exact origins of the burger are still a mystery, it is widely accepted that the modern burger originated in the late 19th or early 20th century.

The industrialization led to the need for food that was available fast and easy to eat. The Burger was the perfect answer to this. The Burger could be easily made in batch processing in bulk (mass produced), therefore affordable as well portlable.


Though the time of the origin of burgers are not much disputed, the place of origin is up for debate. Both the USA and Germany lay claim to the invention of the ground round.

While there is no solid evidence that either of them could be awarded their claim, the US seem to have a more firm foundation to their declare.

The 4th century Romans have first mentioned the baked patty in their scripts and paintings, which is the only asserted proof of the origins of the burger. From then on the baked patty has showed up in various forms througout history. The 1763 book “Art of Cooking Made Plain and Tasty” has a recipe for the baked patty. The Burger has been a staple food in many cultures since the 14th century, but the effort to make them was time consuming.

The invention of the meat grinder in the early 19th century contributed to the explosion in the popularity of the burger. Once the meat grinder came into existence, the making of the patty became easier and less cumbersome. The rearing of lifestock during the period also led to easier availablity of meat, which further contributed to the growing popularity of the burger.

The Beef Sandwich

In 1880, a cook in Athens, Texas is known to have made a sandwich by putting a meat patty between two peices of bread. He called it the ‘Beef Sandwich’.

The Menches brothers of Hamburg, NY where the first ones to give the present name to this delicacy. The brothers added ketchup, tomato sauce and flavours to the patty and used a bun instead of the bread.

The White Castle Restaurant, started in Wichita, Kansas served burgers. This is the predecesor of all Fast Food Restaurants.

The Burgers had also started to evolve by the mid 1950s. Adding more toppings and flavouring of the meat. Various signature sauces also became prominent around this time.

In Popular Culture

The end of the World War II saw an increase in social gatherings, the quest for convenience had also popularized frozen foods at this time, which led to frozen patties being sold in markets. This led to the popularity of barbecuing.

When People gathered for a cookout, the simplicity of cooking a burger and the ease of customizing it to individual tastes made the burger a staple of these social gatherings.


The cartoon Sponge Bob Square Pants where the titular character is a fry cook who makes burgers for a living is a popular example of the impact that the burger has on media.

Burgers are also used as a symbol of America as exemplified in the Iron Man (2008) where Iron Man asks for a Hamburger as soon as he escapes his captives and in a much lighter sense in Pink Panther (2006) where the French Inspector Clouseau is taught to say ‘Hamburger’ before his trip to America

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