This time of year is perfect for settling into the kitchen and trying out new recipes for all kinds of delicious confections. With the help of modern technology, the process of trial and error is quick and easy. Imagine how time-consuming it would be to whip up these tasty tr eats without the help of an electric egg beater!
Hand-operated rotary egg beaters have been around since approximately 1860, and were eventually patented by inventor Willis Johnson in Ohio in 1884. He originally intended it as a mixing device for all ingredients, not just eggs, and in that way, modern mixers have essentially come full-circle.
The design of the rotary beater helps to cut down on the time and effort needed to whisk the eggs. By turning the handheld crank, the motion of the gear revolutions transfers the energy to the beaters to spin them. This is much faster and more efficient than whisking by hand. Another perk of this machine is that it is able to add a significant amount of air into whatever is being mixed –this would lighten the consistency of the recipe or dessert and add to its quality.
By the 1890s, the Dover Stamping Company had a monopoly on egg beaters in the United States, so most people referred to them as “Dover Egg beaters,” regardless of the maker. Dover also popularized the shape and design we are familiar with today, and between 1870 and 1890 they sold 4 million egg beaters. The prices for these devices could range from $1.25 to $1.50.
Americans also used the egg beaters to mix other household substances such as paint. While modern rotary egg beaters are typically made from stainless steel, they were historically made from tin-wire or brass-wire.
Across the pond, Europeans seemed to prefer the ordinary method of hand-mixing or whisking with a hand whisk. The demand for the rotary beater was quite low until the early 20th century.
The Past Antiques Marketplace in Nature’s Art Village is home to several antique egg beaters for purchase. Visit us on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to check out our entire collection of antiques and collectibles.