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

10 Rad Gifts for Hikers

Greg Rosenke/Unsplash
Greg Rosenke/Unsplash

The popularity of bird-watching, camping, and hiking has skyrocketed this year. Whether your gift recipients are weekend warriors or seasoned dirtbags, they'll appreciate these tools and gear for getting most out of their hiking experience.

1. Stanley Nesting Two-Cup Cookset; $14

Amazon

Stanley’s compact and lightweight cookset includes a 20-ounce stainless steel pot with a locking handle, a vented lid, and two insulated 10-ounce tumblers. It’s the perfect size for brewing hot coffee, rehydrating soup, or boiling water while out on the trail with a buddy. And as some hardcore backpackers note in their Amazon reviews, your favorite hiker can take the tumblers out and stuff the pot with a camp stove, matches, and other necessities to make good use of space in their pack.

Buy it: Amazon

2. Osprey Sirrus and Stratos 24-Liter Hiking Packs; $140

Amazon

Osprey’s packs are designed with trail-tested details to maximize comfort and ease of use. The Sirrus pack (pictured) is sized for women, while the Stratos fits men’s proportions. Both include an internal sleeve for a hydration reservoir, exterior mesh and hipbelt pockets, an attachment for carrying trekking poles, and a built-in rain cover.

Buy them: Amazon, Amazon

3. Yeti Rambler 18-Ounce Bottle; $48

Amazon

Nothing beats ice-cold water after a summer hike or a sip of hot tea during a winter walk. The Yeti Rambler can serve up both: Beverages can stay hot or cold for hours thanks to its insulated construction, and its steel body (in a variety of colors) is basically indestructible. It will add weight to your hiker's pack, though—for a lighter-weight, non-insulated option, the tried-and-true Camelbak Chute water bottle is incredibly sturdy and leakproof.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Mappinners Greatest 100 Hikes of the National Parks Scratch-Off Poster; $30

Amazon

The perfect gift for park baggers in your life (or yourself), this 16-inch-by-20-inch poster features epic hikes like Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Once the hike is complete, you can scratch off the gold foil to reveal an illustration of the park.

Buy it: Amazon

5. National Geographic Adventure Edition Road Atlas; $19

Amazon

Hikers can use this brand-new, updated road atlas to plan their next adventure. In addition to comprehensive maps of all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico, they'll get National Geographic’s top 100 outdoor destinations, useful details about the most popular national parks, and points on the maps noting off-the-beaten-path places to explore.  

Buy it: Amazon

6. Adventure Medical Kits Hiker First-Aid Kit; $25

Amazon

This handy 67-piece kit is stuffed with all the things you hope your hiker will never need in the wilderness. Not only does it contain supplies for pain, cuts and scrapes, burns, and blisters (every hiker’s nemesis!), the items are organized clearly in the bag to make it easy to find tweezers or an alcohol wipe in an emergency.

Buy it: Amazon

7. Hiker Hunger Ultralight Trekking Poles; $70

Amazon

Trekking poles will help increase your hiker's balance and stability and reduce strain on their lower body by distributing it to their arms and shoulders. This pair is made of carbon fiber, a super-strong and lightweight material. From the sweat-absorbing cork handles to the selection of pole tips for different terrain, these poles answer every need on the trail. 

Buy it: Amazon

8. Leatherman Signal Camping Multitool; $120

Amazon

What can’t this multitool do? This gadget contains 19 hiking-friendly tools in a 4.5-inch package, including pliers, screwdrivers, bottle opener, saw, knife, hammer, wire cutter, and even an emergency whistle.

Buy it: Amazon

9. RAVPower Power Bank; $24

Amazon

Don’t let your hiker get caught off the grid with a dead phone. They can charge RAVPower’s compact power bank before they head out on the trail, and then use it to quickly juice up a phone or tablet when the batteries get low. Its 3-inch-by-5-inch profile won’t take up much room in a pack or purse.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Pack of Four Indestructible Field Books; $14

Amazon

Neither rain, nor snow, nor hail will be a match for these waterproof, tearproof 3.5-inch-by-5.5-inch notebooks. Your hiker can stick one in their pocket along with a regular pen or pencil to record details of their hike or brainstorm their next viral Tweet.

Buy it: Amazon

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22 Creepy Cryptids From Around the World

Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.
Belgian painter Pieter Dirkx's interpretation of the Mongolian death worm.

According to Merriam-Webster, a cryptid is an animal "that has been claimed to exist but never proven to exist." But as Bigfoot believers and Loch Ness Monster enthusiasts are often quick to point out, it’s pretty difficult to prove that something doesn’t exist. Plus, it’s much more fun to indulge in the idea that giant sea monsters and hairy humanoids are roaming the uncharted corners of the planet.

On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is taking viewers across time and space to unearth legends about lesser-known monsters that, again, haven’t been proven to not exist. Take the Mongolian death worm, a lamprey-like nightmare that supposedly lives in the Gobi Desert and radiates a poison so strong that you could die just by standing near it. If you’re an ill-behaved child or a Catholic who scarfs down steak every Friday during Lent, watch out for the Rougarou, a Louisiana-based werewolf that sniffs out those two demographics.

Learn about more fearsome, fascinating cryptids of all kinds in the video below, and subscribe to the Mental Floss YouTube channel for future episodes of The List Show.