Today in Food History: An American Icon

Happy 80th birthday, you hotdogger, you!

In 1936 The Oscar Mayer Wiener-mobile is invented. It is a giant hot dog on wheels. Invented by Carl Mayer, nephew of Oscar Mayer, it was built by General Body Company at Chicago, Illinois. It stands Over 22 ft long and standing more than 12 ft high, the Wiener-mobile is clearly a car with presence.  With the 1995 version, the Wiener-mobile grew in size to 27 feet long and 11 feet high.

In the 1950’s Oscar Mayer and the Gerstenslager Company created several new vehicles using a Dodge chassis or a Willy’s Jeep chassis.  In 1969, new Wiener-mobiles were built on a Chevrolet motor home chassis and featured Ford Thunderbird taillights. The 1969 vehicle was the first Wiener-mobile to travel outside the United States. In 1976 Plastic Products, Inc., built a fiberglass and Styrofoam model, again on a Chevrolet motor home chassis.

Drivers of the Wiener-mobiles are known as Hotdoggers and often hand out toy whistles shaped as replicas of the Wiener-mobile, known as Wiener whistles.  There are now a fleet of six.

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