Who invented the corn dog?

In the What are your local delicacies? thread, I mention Fletcher’s Corny Dogs as a favorite around the Dallas area, “corny dog” - not “corn dog” being the correct name around these parts. My understanding has always been that the corny dog was invented here in Dallas at the State Fair of Texas. A little web sleuthing seems to validate that Neil and Carl Fletcher did indeed introduce the world to the corny dog in 1942 (see the Official State Fair of Texas website).

However, in the course of sleuthing, I’ve discovered another claimant to the title of “Inventor of the Corn Dog”. According to this site, Ed Waldmire claims to have invented them at the Illinois State Fair in 1946, before opening his on restaurant in 1948. He called his corn-meal-batter-coated-hot-dog-on-stick a “Cozy Dog”.

Neither cite provides an independently verifiable source for their claims. So I ask you, the Teeming Millions™ and/or the Honorable Cecil Adams, to help me determine who invented the corn dog.

As a kid growing up in Springfield, IL, I remember the local restaurant “Cozy Dog” claimed to have invented the Corn Dog. I don’t see a Website for them, but they are (or were) located on old Route 66, so you may find a phone number for them if you search for Route 66 + Cozy Dog…

The Cozy Dog is still there, south of the state capitol building in Springfield along an arterial highway. It’s definitely worth a visit. The current owner, Buz Waldmire, is the son of Ed Waldmire. [He is a character…politically the exact opposite of his peacenik dad.] I had lunch there this summer and remember Buz telling me that his dad did not actually invent corn dogs, just developed an efficient and effective method of producing them.

That’s backed up in a book I have called The Route 66 Cookbook, by Marian Clark. According to her, “Ed remembers visiting a brother in Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 1941 where he ate his first corn dog in a local greasy spoon. ‘They were made in a contraption like a waffle iron [quoting Ed himself]. The batter was poured in a trough, then three wieners were added and the whole thing baked fifteen minutes.’” Ultimately, Clark says, Waldmire called a baker friend of his in Galesburg IL and asked him to develop a batter into which a hot dog could be dipped and deep fried. The idea worked and the rest was history.