There is some debate as to the exact origins of the corn dog; they appeared in some ways in the US by the 1920s, and were popularized nationally in the 1940s. A US patent filed in 1927, granted in 1929, for a Combined Dipping, Cooking, and Article Holding Apparatus, describes corn dogs, among other fried food impaled on a stick; it reads in part:
I have discovered that articles of food such, for instance, as wieners, boiled ham, hard boiled eggs, cheese, sliced peaches, pineapples, bananas and like fruit, and cherries, dates, figs, strawberries, etc., when impaled on sticks and dipped in batter, which includes in its ingredients a self rising flour, and then deep fried in a vegetable oil at a temperature of about 390°F., the resultant food product on a stick for a handle is a clean, wholesome and tasty refreshment.
In 300 Years of Kitchen Collectibles, author Linda Campbell Franklin states that a "Krusty Korn Dog baker" machine appeared in the 1929 Albert Pick-L. Barth wholesale catalog of hotel and restaurant supplies. The 'korn dogs' were baked in a corn batter and resembled ears of corn when cooked.
An article in The New York Times made reference to "corn dog" stands as early as 1947. A number of current corn dog vendors lay claim that credit for the invention and/or popularization of the corn dog. Carl and Neil Fletcher lay such a claim, having introduced their "Corny Dogs" at the Texas State Fair sometime between 1938 and 1942.
The Pronto Pup vendors at the Minnesota State Fair claim to have invented the corn dog in 1941. Cozy Dog Drive-in, in Springfield, Illinois, claims to have been the first to serve corn dogs on sticks, in 1946. Also in 1946, Dave Barham opened the first location of Hot Dog on a Stick at Muscle Beach, Santa Monica, California.