11 Things You Might Not Know About KitchenAid Mixers

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If wedding registries and cooking shows are any indication, KitchenAid’s iconic stand mixer may be home chefs’ most sought-after piece of equipment. Whether you’ve been whipping cream with one for decades or are thinking about plunking down the cash to buy your first one, there are a few things you might not know about the enduringly popular appliance. 

1. THEY WERE ORIGINALLY MEANT TO SAVE COMMERCIAL BAKERS TIME. 

In 1908, Herbert Johnson of the Hobart Manufacturing Company began designing a machine that would handle the task of mixing bread dough. By 1914, the company was marketing an 80-quart behemoth stand mixer called the Model H. It was a godsend to commercial bakers, who began snapping up the hulking contraptions. 

2. NAVY SAILORS WERE EARLY FANS. 

Before KitchenAid mixers were staples of cushy kitchens, they appeared in more rugged contexts. The United States Navy, always on the hunt for a way to save sailors time and efficiently feed large crews, ordered Model H mixers for three of its ships, where they proved so valuable that the device became part of Navy ships’ standard equipment.

3. AN EXECUTIVE'S WIFE NAMED IT.

Following the huge success of the commercial mixer, Hobart began working on a home model. As the story goes, once a prototype was completed, select executives and engineers took mixers home to their wives while they mulled over options for a catchy commercial name. When one of their wives praised the mixer as “the best kitchen aid” she had ever owned, culinary history was made. 

4. THE FIRST HOME VERSION WAS ENORMOUS.  

In 1919, home chefs finally got their own chance to cook with a scaled-down version of the contraption that had revolutionized bakeries and galleys. The domestic mixer, dubbed the Model H-5, didn’t enjoy the same instant success as its industrial predecessor. For one, it wasn’t quite the sleek KitchenAid we know and love today. The H-5 tipped the scales at 65 pounds, and it was 26 inches tall. The factory could only crank out four completed mixers per day, and retail outlets like hardware stores didn’t want to carry such a revolutionary product without first seeing that there was a market for it. Even home bakers who were interested in a mixer would have suffered from a case of sticker shock—the Model H-5 retailed for $189.50, or roughly $2600 in 2015. 

5. THE COMPANY HAD TO GET CREATIVE TO SELL THE MIXERS. 

When stores balked at carrying the home mixers, Hobart took to the streets to move units. A door-to-door sales force composed mostly of women lugged the hulking devices from one home to the next to show housewives just how useful the KitchenAid could be.   

6. A SMALLER VERSION GAVE KITCHENAID ITS BIG BREAK.

Compelling sales pitch or no, getting homemakers to shell out big money for an enormous mixer was still a tall task. In 1927, a new, even smaller version hit the market, and KitchenAid finally had its hit. The Model G was even smaller than the Model H-5 and a bit less expensive, which helped it find a sweet spot that fit both homemakers’ counter space and their wallets. The new version was a huge success that sold 20,000 units in just three years. 

7. IT STARTED LOOKING FAMILIAR IN THE 1930S. 

Soon after the Model G helped KitchenAid find traction in the marketplace, the Great Depression hit. While a major economic downturn would seem to be bad news for a relative luxury like a mixer, the company decided to keep innovating to maintain its customer base. In 1936, designer Egmont Arens came aboard to create new models of the mixer, a choice that would literally shape KitchenAid’s future. Arens was a proponent of “humaneering,” a philosophy that dictated designs should be pleasing to the senses in addition to being functional, and in August 1937, KitchenAid introduced an all-time crowd-pleaser, the Model K. 

How strong was Arens’s new design? Over 75 years later, the KitchenAid mixers brides and grooms are adding to their registries are, in the company’s words, “virtually unchanged” from the ones Arens rolled out in 1937. 

8. THEY ARE BUILT TO LAST.

Arens’s design isn’t the only enduring thing about KitchenAid. When the home mixers celebrated their 75th anniversary in 1994, KitchenAid launched a search to find the oldest working example of one of its mixers. Ninety-one-year-old Maude Humes of Blawnox, Pennsylvania took home the prize of $7500 and a new set of appliances for owning a working 1919 Model H. Humes admitted that she inherited the ancient mixer from an aunt and actually did her cooking with a more recent model: A 1930s-era Model G.  

9. THERE'S A SCIENCE BEHIND THEIR PERFORMANCE. 

Lize, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

It takes more than just an aesthetically pleasing design to become a kitchen hero for over seven decades. As KitchenAid’s marketing materials and review sites like The Sweethome alike note, KitchenAid mixers employ a “planetary” action to do their mixing. As a beater spins, it also rotates around within the bowl, which ensures more contact with the ingredients. The end result is that the ingredients get more fully mixed than they would using alternative mechanisms. 

10. OLDER ATTACHMENTS STILL WORK. 

One positive side effect from Arens’s enduring design: Very old attachments still work, even on brand-new KitchenAid mixers. While many chefs loving hooking the pasta maker or sausage grinder attachments onto their mixers, with some digging, you can find discontinued 1950s-era attachments to help turn your mixer into a machine that shells peas, buffs silver, and opens cans. 

11. THERE'S AN ENTIRE KITCHENAID MUSEUM.

m01229, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Since the 1940s, every KitchenAid mixer has been built in the same factory in Greenville, Ohio, which has turned into something of a shrine to kitchen appliances. The KitchenAid Experience boasts a retail store and factory tours, but for hardcore fans of mixing, the highlight has to be the museum, which boasts early models, vintage ads, and notable mixers like the K5A owned by Julia Child

11 Facts About the Library of Congress

Thomas Jefferson Building of the LOC. Image Credit: TheAgency via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0
Thomas Jefferson Building of the LOC. Image Credit: TheAgency via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

For more than two centuries, the Library of Congress (LOC) and its staff have served as invaluable resources for American legislators. But their mission isn’t limited to U.S. politics. The Library of Congress catalog includes iconic films, historical documents, and your tweets about lunch. In short, it's a cultural treasure. Here are 11 facts worth knowing about the Washington, D.C.-based establishment.

1. The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest cultural institution.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is America’s oldest federal cultural institution. It was established by the same bill that officially moved the capital from Philadelphia to Washington D.C. The library was conceived of as a resource available exclusively to members of Congress, containing "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress." That remains the case today, though citizens can read books on site or request them at their local library through an interlibrary loan.

2. Thomas Jefferson helped rebuild the Library of Congress catalog after a fire.

Not long after it was established, tragedy struck the Library of Congress: Its contents were destroyed when the Capitol Building was set on fire by British troops during the War of 1812. Approximately 3000 books (mostly law-related) were lost in the blaze, but luckily a friend of Washington D.C. owned a collection that was even bigger. Thomas Jefferson’s personal library comprised well over 6000 volumes, making it the largest library in the country at the time. He agreed to sell all of his books to Congress for $23,950 in 1815. Jefferson's contributions significantly expanded the scope of the library, by including books on art, science, and philosophy. (The increased diversity of the collection was a subject of criticism at the time, to which Jefferson responded by saying "there is in fact no subject to which a member of Congress may not have occasion to refer.”) Sadly, the library met with another tragedy when a second fire tore through it on Christmas Eve 1851, burning two-thirds of Jefferson’s contribution.

3. James Madison first proposed the Library of Congress.

Seventeen years prior to the LOC's official formation, James Madison proposed the idea of a special library for Congress. He planted the idea as a Continental Congress member in 1783 when he suggested compiling a list of books to which lawmakers could refer. As president, Madison approved the purchase of Jefferson’s personal library in 1814.

4. It makes Congress's job a lot easier.

Members of Congress drafting legislation don’t necessarily need to do the nitty-gritty research themselves: There’s a whole team [PDF] of lawyers, librarians, economists, and scientists employed through the Library of Congress to do it for them. Established in 1914, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) is a legislative department within the LOC responsible for supporting lawmakers through every step of the lawmaking process. Based on what’s asked of them, CRS employees supply House and Senate members with reports, briefings, seminars, presentations, or consultations detailing research on the issue in question. The CRS is currently staffed with 600 analysts. In any given year, a single researcher responds to hundreds of congressional requests.

5. It's the largest library on Earth.

With over 164 million items in its inventory, the LOC is the world’s largest library. In addition to the 38 million books and other printed materials on the premises, the institution contains millions of photographs, recordings, and films. It also houses some record-breaking collections: more maps, comics, newspapers, and phonebooks can each be found there than any other place on Earth. The whole thing is stored on about 838 miles of bookshelves.

6. The Library of Congress contains some surprising items.

The Library of Congress is home to an eclectic collection, with books ranging in size from a tiny copy of “Ole King Cole” to a 5-foot-by-7-foot photo book filled with color images of Bhutan. Some items, like a Gutenberg Bible and a rough draft of the Declaration of Independence, feel right at home in the historic library. Others, like Rosa Parks’s peanut butter pancakes recipe, are a bit more unexpected. Additional noteworthy artifacts include Bob Hope’s joke collection, George Gershwin’s piano, and the contents of Abraham Lincoln's pockets the night he was shot.

7. The Library of Congress owns materials from around the world.

The Library of Congress isn’t solely dedicated to American documents. The institution possesses materials acquired from all around the globe, including 3 million items from Asia and 10 million items in the Iberian, Latin American, and Caribbean collections. Over half of the books in their inventory are written in a language other than English. In total, over 460 languages are represented, and their end goal is to eventually have at least one item from every nation. The LOC also maintains overseas offices in New Delhi, India; Cairo, Egypt; Islamabad, Pakistan; Jakarta, Indonesia; Nairobi, Kenya; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to acquire, catalog, and preserve items that might be hard to access otherwise.

8. It preserves America's most important films.

Since the National Film Preservation Act was passed in 1988, 700 "culturally, historically, or aesthetically" significant films have been selected for the LOC archives. Up to 25 entries are chosen each year by a board of industry professionals, and the only rule is that submissions must be at least 10 years old. Beyond that, they can be anything from beloved comedy blockbusters like Ghostbusters (1984) to health class classics like The Story of Menstruation (1946). Pieces added to the National Film Registry are kept in a climate-controlled storage space where they can theoretically last for centuries.

9. The Library of Congress serves patrons of all abilities.

In 1931 the Library of Congress launched The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). Today the service offers free Braille and audio books, either through digital downloads or physical deliveries, to people with visual impairments or other issues that limit their reading abilities. Offerings include a wide array of books and magazines, as well as the world’s largest collection of Braille music. NLS librarians are currently undertaking the painstaking process of scanning every sheet of Braille music onto their computer system. Once that project is complete, the National Library Service’s entire collection will be fully digitized.

10. Only three librarians of Congress have been actual librarians.

When nominating someone to head the largest library in the world, presidents rarely choose actual librarians. They’re more likely to select a scholar, historian, or some other veteran of academia for the job. Of the 14 Librarians of Congress we’ve had, current title-holder Carla Hayden is one of just three to come into the role with prior librarian experience. (She is also the first woman and the first African American to hold the job.) On top of running the world’s largest library, Hayden is also responsible for managing relations with Congress, selecting the Poet Laureate, and overseeing the U.S. Copyright Office.

11. It receives every public tweet you write.

The government isn’t just responsible for cataloging tweets coming out of the White House. In 2010, Twitter agreed to donate every public tweet in its archive to the Library of Congress. That amounts to several hundred million tweets a day. In addition to documenting the rise and fall of #dressgate and live tweets of The Walking Dead, the archive would also act as an invaluable data source for tracking language and societal trends. Unfortunately, that archive isn’t much closer to being completed than the day the deal was announced. The LOC has yet to develop a way to organize the information, and for the past seven years, unprocessed tweets have been have been stored out of sight on a server. There’s still no word on what the next step will be, but that might change with the newest Librarian of Congress. Unlike her predecessor, Carla Hayden is known for taking a digital-forward approach to librarianship.

Merriam-Webster Just Added Hundreds of New Words to the Dictionary—Here Are 25 of Them

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iStock.com/xxz114

The editors of Merriam-Webster's dictionary know better than most people how quickly language evolves. In April 2019 alone, they added more than 640 words to the dictionary, from old terms that have developed new meanings to words that are products of the digital age.

Entertainment fans will recognize a few of the new words on Merriam-Webster's list: Buzzy (generating speculation or attention), bottle episode (an episode of a television series confined to one setting), and EGOT (winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony) have all received the dictionary's stamp of approval.

Some terms reflect the rise of digital devices in our everyday lives, such as unplug and screen time. Other words have been around for centuries, but started appearing in new contexts in recent years. According to Merriam-Webster, snowflake can now mean “someone who is overly sensitive," purple can describe an area split between Democrat and Republican voters, and Goldilocks can mean “an area of planetary orbit in which temperatures are neither too hot nor too cold to support life."

You can read 25 of the new words below. And for even more recent additions to the dictionary, check out Merriam-Webster's list from last September.

  1. Bioabsorbable

  1. Bottle episode

  1. Bottom surgery

  1. Buzzy

  1. EGOT

  1. Garbage time

  1. Gender nonconforming

  1. Geosmin

  1. Gig economy

  1. Go-cup

  1. Goldilocks

  1. On-brand

  1. Page view

  1. Peak

  1. Purple

  1. Vulture capitalism

  1. Qubit

  1. Salutogenesis

  1. Screen time

  1. Snowflake

  1. Stan

  1. Tailwind

  1. Top surgery

  1. Traumatology

  1. Unplug

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