Saturday, January 20, 2007

Setting the Hamburger Record Straight

A while back I posted a link to an article saying that Texas Rep. Betty Brown had proposed a resolution declaring Athens, Texas, as the birthplace of the hamburger. However, New Haven, CT, has a prior claim, as this the article said. That claim is stated in detail in this e-mail from Mr. Thomas Piergostini:

The earliest patent for the hinged broiler came from William Perkins & assigned to the New Haven Wire Goods Co. 256 Water St. New Haven, CT he received patent # 408,136 on July 30, 1889. His application was filed October 22, 1888. Louis' Lunch wagon was located on Meadow St. directly across from the factory on Water St. from 1895 until 1907. Makes sense the factory loaded with highly paid hungry workers needed to eat somewhere, right?
My Great Uncle Luigi Pieragostini worked for the reorganized New Haven wire Goods Co. later called American Steel & Wire Co. in New Haven. Luigi improved on the original invention of W. C. Perkins to broil in the time stamped cast iron vertical gas powered 1898 Bridge, Beach & Co. Stove from St. Louis, MO. Luigi's broiler received patent # 2,148,879 on February 28, 1939. From what I could find, Luigi (patent in son's name Tazio) invented the first hinged broiler designed specifically for use in vertical ovens to allow for the meat to be cooked at the same time. Not only did this cook the meat faster but it cooked it more evenly & juicy. It also used up much less counter space. This is exactly the same broiler & gas oven combination that is still broiling the hamburger sandwiches at Louis' Lunch today after a 112 years!
Necessity is the Mother of invention, right?
So, here is your proof that as early as 1888, in New Haven, CT, there existed a broiler device to handle a lot of hamburger's at a time. This information from the U.S. Patent office will certainly help to protect Louis' Lunch invented, albeit accidentally, the hamburger sandwich back in 1900. ALL of the necessary elements to substantiate your claim exist in the U.S. Patent Office. Your Great Grandfather had the lunch wagon, food & hungry factory workers. The apparatus to broil the hamburger was invented right across the street in New Haven & patent protected from as early as 1888 by Perkins & through the 1960's by Pieragostini!!


Anonymous said...

Italians creating the America's favorite food and giving it a German name, and changing the eating habits of the globe. Hey, it's no big deal, things like that help us pass the time and make for us some new friends. You wanna canolli? Sumbuddy givin' you grief? Le's talkaboudid.

Anonymous said...

I haven't heard anything out of TX, or anywhere else lately, claiming they invented the hamburger. I guess the other states agree with us here in New Haven, that the hamburger was invented at Louis' Lunch in 1900. I think we've stated our case well using facts to back up the history that was passed down by the Lassen family. By Thomas Pieragostini.