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The electric mixer that can kill!

100 Years Of How Electric Mixers Have Changed

Last week I went to the Science Museum in London. There is an absolutely brilliant area showcasing how things in the home have changed. Needless to say, I was drawn to the kitchen section.

Kitchen mixers throughout the 20th century

Stretched out before me were rows of different mixers through the decades. Just take a look at the one in the top middle from 1918 with its disturbing message:

'The early design is rather unsafe. The motor is completely exposed and could easily have made the whole machine 'live' if it had got wet.'

Imagine adding some milk to your cake batter as you mixed it and accidentally splashing the motor. Would this cake literally be the death of you? I realise the discouragement of mixing electricity and water must have come from somewhere, but didn't appreciate it might all be possible in one machine. I imagined it was because people were being careless with the dishes and leaving things plugged in as they cleaned them. Either that or they were giving Agatha Christie her next plotline with the "accidental" dropping of an electric item in the washing up bowl. Thankfully, things soon changed.

Electric mixer from around 1925

A rather less terrifying option came into circulation 7 years later:


Even early electric mixers came with lots of accessories. The 'Kit-Chen-Kit' included a cheese grater, a mincer, a flour sifter, a shredder and a knife sharpener.

It makes me wonder if it could do all 5 tasks at once, although possibly that might induce it to have similarly scary problems to the 1918 version.

Later on designers clearly decided it was important to focus on aesthetics. You'll note the Kenwood Food Mixer (middle left of the top photo) from 1948 shows an astonishing likeness to the modern KitchenAid. (By the way, if you don't already know and don't wish to be upset by it, skip the next couple of sentences... I was crushed to discover the name 'Kenwood' was simply the name of one man put together like a portmanteau word - i.e. Mr Ken Wood became Kenwood. Possibly I'm overreacting a little, but I'm glad to say I knew this information a few years ago and therefore didn't ruin my outing to the Science Museum last week.)

The final item in the top photo (bottom right) shows a Braun Food Processor deliberately cut in half so you can see its workings, just in case you thought things had got a little out of hand in the 1990s.

I 'd been thinking of getting a new mixer, so this was an interesting and welcome surprise. I must say, if I had the opportunity, I wouldn't mind having that beast of a Kenwood mixer on show. It really looks like it could do some heavy-duty work, and that's no bad thing when you regularly make multiple cake batches.

Have you still got an item from decades ago? Please share a photo of it below!

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