Electric mixers are common kitchen appliances used for beating, blending, mixing, and whipping recipes smoothly and easily. These machines, both stand and handheld mixers are found in households because they mix better and more consistently than using a spoon. More than that, electric mixers are significantly less labour-intensive and time-consuming.
Considering all the things that electric hand mixers and stand mixers do for us, have you ever wondered how these tools are made up? This article answers when and who invented the first electric hand mixer, along with its progression and development throughout history.
The History of the Hand Mixer: Early to Modern Day Inventions and Their Inventors
When Was the First Mixer Patented?
In January of 1856, the very first-hand mixer with rotating parts was patented. The patent was awarded to its inventor, Ralph Collier, a tinsmith from Baltimore, Maryland. His egg beater was the first of its kind. Collier’s innovation helped spark interest in other people leading to significant advancements in the years to come.
Just over a year later, in May of 1857, E.P. Griffith was awarded a patent in England for another hand-turned rotary whisk. Again, the rotating whisk worked quite well on smaller mixing tasks, even without help from a motor.
When Was the First Egg Beater Patented?
The first rotary egg beater, made by J.F. and E.P. Monroe, was patented in 1859. This was one of the earliest patents bought by the Dover Stamping Company, and it was a decision they did not regret. Egg beaters were extremely useful and began growing in popularity almost immediately.
Eventually, rotary egg beaters by the Dover Stamping Company became a classic American tool and brand by the early 1870s. These early egg beaters were manufactured in England.
Later, competition drove the price down on egg beaters. Finally, the desire to make whisking easier and more efficient led to further innovation and new mixer models by other inventors and companies.
Who Invented the First Electric Hand Mixer?
In 1885 the very first mixer machine with an electric motor was invented by American Rufus Eastman. Eastman’s electric mixer was handheld. This new electrical machine led to more rapid advancements in mixing food ingredients with incredible speed and consistency. With the addition of a motor, mixers could now start to whisk more than just eggs.
Who Invented the First Stand Mixer?
In 1908, Herbert Johnson, who worked for the Hobart Manufacturing Company, came up with the next advancement in mixer technology. One day, Johnson found himself observing a baker while he laboured over kneading bread dough. As many of us know, kneading dough can take a long time, and it certainly takes a lot of energy. Still, it is easy to knead the dough, particularly on a flat surface at your waist level. With this in mind, Johnson wanted to create an electric mixer that worked effortlessly.
He developed a stand mixer that could be used hands-free and had exceptional mixing power. His stand mixer model also enabled a rotational feature that allowed the bowl to move in one direction while the beater rotated in the opposite direction. This drastically increased the mixing speed and efficiency of the machine. Once again, this new feature spread throughout the market.
The initial stand mixers produced by the Hobart Manufacturing Company were called Model H. They were huge and had an 80-quart mixing capacity. By 1915, the Model H became a standard kitchen appliance on United States Navy vessels and larger commercial bakeries. These tools significantly helped reduce the physical workload while also completing mixing tasks at a much more rapid speed than what could be accomplished by hand.
What Year Was the First Kitchen Aid Mixer Released?
While having the Navy for clientele was great at first, the Hobart Manufacturing Company wished for a broader client base. So the company began seeking ways to bring mixers into home kitchens. After developing smaller prototypes, several top executives of the Hobart Manufacturing Company started to bring them home. This is to have them tested by their wives and families, then obtain feedback afterwards.
The executives’ family members received the newer stand mixers well, but the new equipment still lacked a commercial name. Legend has it that one of the wives who had been testing the prototype exclaimed something along the lines of, “I do not care what you decide to call it, but it is the best kitchen aid I have ever used.” With that, the name and now world-renowned brand was officially born.
The Hobart Manufacturing Company launched their first KitchenAid stand mixer designed for home use in 1919. Originally it was called a food preparer, and it was somewhat cumbersome and expensive, both to make and buy. This meant that many retail kitchen supply stores did not choose to stock them on their shelves for sale.
However, the company was able to build the reputation of the KitchenAid stand mixer. They did it using a direct sales force that went door to door, giving demonstrations. Hobart Manufacturing Company was so successful that eventually, KitchenAid became a common kitchen appliance valued for its durability and quality craftsmanship.
Of course, KitchenAid mixers did not resemble their modern-day counterparts until they later hired a well-known industrial designer named Egmont Ahren. He was able to redesign the stand mixer into its current design with an overall bullet shape. This made the KitchenAid stand mixer lighter in weight, smaller in size, and significantly less expensive.
The Modern Electric Hand Mixer
KitchenAid released an electric hand mixer in June of 1922, which created a fair amount of competition over the mass market. However, by this point in time, KitchenAid had developed a reputation. As expected, the market well-received the idea of a handheld electric mixer with its branding.
In 1930, the Sunbeam company began selling an electric hand mixer invented by Ivan Jepson. This new device was called the Mixmaster. It was much lighter and significantly less expensive than KitchenAid mixers making it quite popular amongst consumers.
By 1952, Sunbeam’s Mixmaster electric hand mixer invention had undergone significant improvements that made the model more accessible and affordable for the typical family home. As a result, having an electric mixer for baking at home became seen more and more as a necessity.
Hand Mixers in Your Home
Sunbeam and KitchenAid have come a long way, and mixing ingredients by hand are primarily seen as an unnecessary inconvenience. This is why it would be nice to own an electric mixer or mixing device, even if you rarely bake or find a reason to use it while making food or only use it to beat eggs.
Indeed, we have come a long way – from simply mixing ingredients with a wooden or metal spoon to using electric mixers at your convenience. Considering the long history of egg beaters and electric hand mixers, this is quite the feat. Maybe, next time you pull out an egg beater or an electric mixer, you will take a moment to think about Ralph Collier and all of the hard work that went into this seemingly necessary device. Or maybe, you will share your newfound information with someone else. Either way, it’s a good thing that at least you now know how far the hand mixer invention has come throughout our history. We are all grateful for the kitchen tasks it accomplishes with ease.
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