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Fascinating facts about the invention of the
Standing Mixer
by Herbert Johnson in 1908.

MIXER
AT A GLANCE:

In
1908 Herbert Johnson, an engineer for the Hobart Manufacturing Company, invents an electric standing mixer. His inspiration came from observing a baker mixing bread dough with a metal spoon; soon he was toying with a mechanical counterpart. By 1915, his 80-quart mixer was standard equipment for most large bakeries. In 1919 Hobart introduced the KitchenAid Food Preparer (stand mixer) for the home
THE STORY
RELATED INFO
BOOKS
VIDEOS
WEB SITES
WHERE TO FIND
QUOTATIONS
HOW IT WORKS
DID YOU KNOW?
Invention: mixer, standing in 1908
Standing mixer image courtesy www.kitchenaid.com
Definition: noun / mix·er
Function: A mixer is a kitchen appliance intended for mixing, folding, beating, and whipping food ingredients. Mixers come in two major variations, hand mixers and stand mixers.
Inventor: Herbert Johnson  
Criteria: First practical. Entrepreneur.
Milestones:
1908 Herbert Johnson, an engineer, invents a standing mixer for mixing bread dough
1915 Hobart Mfg. Co, of Troy, Ohio begins selling 80 quart mixers to professional bakers
1919 Hobart, now called KitchenAid sells a "food preparer" (stand mixer) for the home
1930 Sunbeam MixMaster introduced selling at a fraction of the KitchenAid's price
1936 designer Egmont Ahrens trimmed the KitchenAid mixer down to a more convenient weight
1952 Sunbeam put out its first hand-held MixMaster
1954 you can now buy a KitchenAid mixer in a color other than white
mixer, electric mixer, mixmaster, standing mixer, hand held mixer, herbert johnson, hobart manufacturing company, sunbeam,  invention, history, inventor of, history of, who invented, invention of, fascinating facts.
The Story:
Like many home appliances, the standing mixer has industrial antecedents. In the 1908, engineer Herbert Johnson was observing a baker mixing bread dough with a metal spoon; soon he was toying with a mechanical counterpart. By 1915, his 80-quart Hobart mixer was standard equipment on all U.S. Navy vessels, as well as in many commercial bakeries.

World War I intervened before Hobart could jump into the residential market, but by 1918, company executives were testing models in their homes. "I don't care what you call it," legend has one of the executives' spouses espousing, "all I know is it's the best kitchen aid I've ever had."

The name stuck. The first 5-quart countertop KitchenAid mixers were not cheap:$189.50, or about $2,000 in 2002 dollars. Weighing in at 65 pounds, they weren't convenient, either. But that all changed in 1936, when pioneering industrial designer Egmont Ahrens trimmed the mixer down and chopped the price to $55. The iconic Streamline shape has changed so little that Ahrens' bullet silhouette is patented.


In the early years, retailers were slow to take on the KitchenAid mixer. To counter their reluctance, Hobart established a direct sales force made up primarily of women who went door to door offering demonstrations of the new food preparation tool. With the creation of citrus juicer and food grinder attachments in 1919, KitchenAid mixers were on the road to becoming the versatile "food preparation tools", as they were subsequently styled. Today's KitchenAid stand mixers can be converted to anything from a pasta maker to a sausage stuffer or grain mill with the addition of optional attachments.

The mixer's mechanics remain virtually unaltered, too. An attachment made in 1919 -- the pea shucker, for instance -- will fit on today's model. Tens of millions of KitchenAid mixers have been manufactured at the same Greenville, Ohio, factory that produced the first one in 1919.

KitchenAid may have been first, but the widespread acceptance of the electric standing mixer actually belongs to a more populist-priced appliance, the Sunbeam MixMaster invented by Ivar Jepson's. Sold at a fraction of the KitchenAid's price (in the early 1930s, it retailed for $18.25, about $240 in 2002 dollars), the MixMaster caught on like wildfire. Within six years of its 1930 introduction -- and at the height of the Depression -- the company was selling 300,000 MixMasters a year.

Sunbeam put out its first hand-held MixMaster in 1952. Although the KitchenAid standing mixer is the current market leader, the Sunbeam MixMaster remains a viable rival.

TO LEARN MORE

RELATED INFORMATION:
Invention of the Blender   from The Great Idea Finder
History of Household Items    from The Great Idea Finder

ON THE BOOKSHELF:
The Eggbeater Chronicles (Limited Availability.)
by Don Thornton / Paperback: 350 pages / Thornton House; 2nd ed edition (1999)
The expanded and updated work unscrambles the history behind one of America's greatest gadgets. Generously supplemented by an unbeatable group of photos, trademarks, illustrations of vintage catalogs and advertisements, patent drawings and recipes, the book is required reading for the kitchen collector
Mix It Up! Great Recipes to Make the Most of Your Stand Mixer (Limited Availability.)
by Jamee Ruth, Maren Caruso / Paperback: 132 pages / Chronicle Books (October, 2002)
"Everyone who has a kitchen longs for an electric stand mixer," writes Jamee Ruth in Mix It Up!. "It is a sought-after icon—a trophy that says, 'I'm a cook.'" But like a lot of icons, it's often more awesome than user-friendly. With 13 attachments available, many cooks confine themselves to mixing up cookie batters with the flat beater and calling it a day
The Big Book of Kitchen Appliance Recipes
by Katona; German; White; Simmons / Hardcover: 360 pages / Bristol Publishing Enterprises (2003)
This great compendium contains hundreds of recipes for the slow cooker, convection oven, blender, pasta machine, juicer, ice cream maker, steamer, deep fryer, indoor grill, rice cooker, waffle maker and sandwich maker.

ON THE SCREEN:
Digi-tech
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
See how the computing capacity of World-War II era room-sized computers is now surpassed by hand-held devices; visit Zenith to see a side-by-side comparison of regular television and HDTV; discover how a Cold War era NASA program is transforming personal photography, and get the inside story about MP3s.

Household Wonders  
DVD / 1 Volume Set / 50 Minutes / History Channel / Less than $25.00
HOUSEHOLD WONDERS tells the story of seven taken-for-granted inventions that make modern life comfy, fast and clean: the stove, sewing machine, refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine, vacuum cleaner, toaster and mixer.


ON THE WEB:

KitchenAid History
KitchenAid has spent decades creating innovative products for the well-equipped kitchen. From commercial grade cooktops and wine cellars to stand mixers and an impressive assortment of cookware, bakeware and accessories
(URL: www.kitchenaid.com/custserv/about.jsp)
Standing mixer: From Navy to home kitchen
Tens of millions of KitchenAid mixers have been manufactured at the same Greenville, Ohio, factory that produced the first one in 1919. Article by  Rick Nelson for the Star Tribune.
(URL: archives.openflows.org/electronetwork-l/msg00294.html)
KitchenAid Mixers
Before KitchenAid manufactured its famous stand mixer, or even existed, it was known as the Hobart Company. Article by Valerie Conners fot the Travel Channel.
(URL: travel.discovery.com/fansites/jrmia/goods/kitchenaid.html)

Inventor of the Week-Ivar Jepson
It is proof of Ivar Jepson's talent that the 60th Anniversary Edition of "the mixer America grew up with," released by Sunbeam in 1990, differed very little from Jepson's first model.
(URL: web.mit.edu/invent/iow/jepson.html)
Early Mixer
The first patent that can claim to be for an electric mixer was issued on November 17, 1885 to Rufus M. Eastman. Actually, his patent is simply for a powered mixer, and he allowed that electric, water or mechanical power could be used.
(URL: my.core.com/%7Edthomp/HISTORY.HTM)
Sunbeam History
Sunbeam Products, Inc. is a leading global consumer products company that designs, manufactures, and markets, nationally and internationally, a diverse portfolio of consumer products under such world-class brands as Sunbeam®, Oster®, Mr. Coffee®, and Health o meter®.
(URL: www.sunbeam.com/datapage.aspx?NLId=48)

The Mixer America Grew Up With
Rufus W. Eastman received the first known patent for an electric mixer in 1885--an intriguing machine designed to run on either electric or water power. Another early electric mixer was designed and patented by psychologist/ergonomist Lillian Gilbreth. COOKIES and POP-UP ADS. 
(URL: www.angelfire.com/home/flexibleshaft/Sunbeam2.html)
Antique Electric Mixers
Probably no kitchen appliance in history has more innovation behind it then the hand-cranked egg beater. Beginning in 1856, more than 1000 patents have been granted to this seemingly simple device
(URL: my.core.com/%7Edthomp)


WHERE TO FIND:
KitchenAid  Artisan Series 5-Quart Mixer
Kitchen / by KitchenAid / ASIN: B00007IT2P / Model # KSM150PSMC / Less than $250.00
The Artisan mixer's strong 325-watt motor delivers the power to handle the heaviest mixtures, and mix large batches easily. The 5-quart polished stainless steel bowl with ergonomic handle is big enough to handle large batches of heavy mixtures. Its ergonomically designed handle is contoured to fit the hand and makes lifting the bowl more comfortable.
Sunbeam 2366 Mixmaster Stand Mixer 4-qt.
Kitchen / by Sunbeam Products, Inc. / ASIN: B0002L34J6 / Model # 2366 / Less than $100.00
Use this updated kitchen favorite to create some new family favorites. This stand mixer offers 275 watts of power and 12 speeds. It also has a burst of power for a little added oomph when mixing firm batters and stiff doughs. Chrome beaters eject for convenience. Includes two glass,

HOW IT WORKS:
Mixers should not be confused with blenders. Blenders contain sharp blades and typically operate at higher speeds that chop, liquefy, or otherwise break down larger food items. A mixer is a much slower device without blades.

DID YOU KNOW?:

  • Tens of millions of KitchenAid mixers have been manufactured at the same Greenville, Ohio, factory that produced the first one in 1919.
  • The White House pastry kitchen has three mixers, one each in red, white and blue;
  • Julia Child's cobalt-blue KitchenAid mixer now rests in the Smithsonian.
  • As a testament to their popularity, the U.S. Postal Service portrayed them in a 1998 stamp series that highlighted the most memorable trends of each decade of the 20th century; the
    MixMaster was chosen as the definitive image of the 1930s' household conveniences.
Designated trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners,
Reference Sources in BOLD Type. This page revised October, 2005.
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