You can trace America's anything-on-a-stick obsession back to July 5, 1927, when a U.S. inventor named Stanley S. Jenkins filed a patent for a “Combined Dipping, Cooking, and Article Holding Apparatus.”
Jenkins sought to patent a new method and machine for serving foods impaled on sticks, dipped in a batter and deep fried. The apparatus could hold skewered batter-jacketed foods in a liquid cooking medium while the batter is cooked. The individual sticks made for easy individual extraction.
Provided with the patent were several relevant examples of “clean, wholesome and tasty refreshments” including; “wieners, boiled ham, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, sliced peaches, pineapples, bananas and like fruit, and cherries, dates, figs, strawberries.”
Corn dogs became the preeminent on-a-stick item in the 1940s when various vendors introduced them to the public at state fairs and festivals. Fletcher’s Corny Dogs at the Texas State Fair and Cozy Dog at the Illinois State Fair were two of the most popular corn dog stands of the time.
In the decades since, on-a-stick and deep fried fair foods have only grown wackier and wilder than ever before. Lucky for you, we have all the answers to all your state fair food questions.