After watching a baker laboriously stir a large quantity of dough with a metal spoon, Herbert Johnson, an engineer for the Hobart Manufacturing Company in Ohio, invented the first standing mixer in 1908. By 1915 Johnson’s 80-quart mixer was in use by commercial bakeries and on U.S. Naval ships.
In 1918 Hobart executives and spouses started to test smaller home models. One spouse remarked, “I don’t care what you call it. All I know is it’s the best kitchen aid I’ve ever had.”
Aimed at home bread bakers, the first 5-quart KitchenAid “food preparer” stand mixer weighed 65 pounds and sold for $189.00 in 1919, more than $2,000 today. In 1930, rival Sunbeam introduced the MixMaster, designed by Ivar Jepson, at a fraction of KitchenAid’s weight and price at $18.25 ($250 today).
In 1936, Egmont Ahrens refined KitchenAid’s now patented Streamline bullet-shape design and the price was chopped to $55. Sunbeam launched its first hand-held mixer in 1952.