Fun facts about KitchenAid mixers

It is difficult to imagine a kitchen appliance that is as universally recognizable as the KitchenAid stand mixer. It proudly adorns countertops in countless households in the U.S. and beyond (I spied KitchenAid mixers in a few seasons of GBBO). The story of KitchenAid mixers goes back 100 years, as explained in the recent Taste of Home article listing six surprising facts about the iconic mixers

KitchenAid mixer

One fact that I did not realize is that the earliest models of the KitchenAid mixer make even the current Professional series models appear to be bargains. The original H-5 model cost the equivalent of nearly $2800 USD today, with the home use model ringing up at just over $600 USD adjusted for inflation. (After taking apart my 40-year-old KA, I posit that it was built a bit sturdier than the newer models.)

While Hobart (the original parent company of the KitchenAid brand) began making mixers beginning in 1919, the shape that we have come to know and love did not enter the picture until 1937, when designer Egmont Arens came up with the rounded nose model K. The look of the machine has only undergone minor changes in the ensuing decades – well, except for the color. 

Until 1955, white was the sole color of KitchenAid mixer you could purchase. In 1955, the company added Petal Pink, 
Island Green, Sunny Yellow, Satin Chrome 
and Antique Copper, and they haven’t stopped since. There are over 80 colors currently in production, some exclusive to certain retailers. 

Although you cannot interchange beaters or bowls between most of the various models, all KitchenAids since the beginning have used the same mechanism for the wide variety of attachments available for the mixers. That’s right, those gorgeous vintage glass juicers and solid metal meat grinders will fit right on your 2019 KitchenAid. 

A story in CNet posted last year does a good job of explaining why the mixers have become icons in the kitchen (and at least one person has argued that the mixers played a role in feminist politics). It’s fair to say that outside of a Cuisinart food processor or VitaMix blender, few kitchen appliances produce such an instant impression that the owner of the device is serious about food than a KitchenAid mixer. Since people frequently use the KA to make celebratory items, the appliance becomes associated with special occasions, making nostalgia an important part of the calculation. While there may be more powerful or sophisticated mixers available for home use, none can match the cachet of a KitchenAid. 

My own history with a KitchenAid mixer dates back a mere 20 years, when as a recent college graduate passionate about cooking I wanted to purchase one of these iconic appliances but lacked the means to do so. Serendipity solved this dilemma as one of my coworkers was downsizing and wanted to trade her stand mixer for a hand mixer. So for the price of a (KitchenAid, naturally) hand mixer I took home a 1970s model KA-5. 

I used that sturdy KA-5 for hundreds of cakes, cookies, and other dishes for two decades before upgrading to a Professional 7-quart mixer that I purchased for a milestone birthday earlier this year. The older mixer isn’t done creating memories, however, as it has a new home–right next door. My neighbor had been thinking about buying a new KA but hadn’t yet done so. After I thoroughly cleaned and greased the gears and had it inspected for any electrical issues, I happily passed the mixer along to my friend so she can use it to create celebratory cakes, comforting cookies, and loads of meals for her young family. 


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  • MollyB  on  June 12, 2019

    I had KitchenAid mixers for years, and they were great for many things. But their motors don't seem to be able to handle bread dough very well, especially stiff doughs. I had 3 motors die on me. After the last one died, we replaced it with an Electrolux Assistent mixer (now the Ankarsrum stand mixer), and have never looked back. It doesn't walk across the counter and can handle even the stiffest doughs with no problem, plus it has a timer for shutting off after a set time. I wish I had upgraded sooner!

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