Hobart Model A-200 Commercial Mixer (Precursor to the KitchenAid)
When I visited the chefs in the kitchen of Bak'd Restaurant in Mesa, Arizona, I saw this very old large commercial stand mixer. I had just acquired my first KitchenAid stand mixer and had read that the "Hobart" commercial mixer, introduced in the early 1900's, was the precursor to the KitchenAid mixers for the home, and here was one right in front of me. It's style and shape sure did resemble the KitchenAid stand mixer I had just acquired. Further research revealed that the this mixer is a Model A-200 Hobart commercial grade mixer, which was introduced in 1933 and is still in use today (you can buy a refurbished used one on eBay for about $1,300 when I checked).
More information on the history of the Hobart and KitchenAid mixers:
Like many home appliances, the standing mixer has industrial antecedents. In the 1908, engineer Herbert Johnson was observing a baker mixing bread dough with a metal spoon; soon he was toying with a mechanical counterpart. By 1915, his 80-quart Hobart mixer was standard equipment on all U.S. Navy vessels, as well as in many commercial bakeries.
World War I intervened before Hobart could jump into the residential market, but by 1918, company executives were testing models in their homes. "I don't care what you call it," legend has one of the executives' spouses espousing, "all I know is it's the best kitchen aid I've ever had."
The name stuck. The first 5-quart countertop KitchenAid mixers were not cheap:$189.50, or about $2,000 in 2002 dollars. Weighing in at 65 pounds, they weren't convenient, either. But that all changed in 1936, when pioneering industrial designer Egmont Ahrens trimmed the mixer down and chopped the price to $55. The iconic Streamline shape has changed so little that Ahrens' bullet silhouette is patented.
In the early years, retailers were slow to take on the KitchenAid mixer. To counter their reluctance, Hobart established a direct sales force made up primarily of women who went door to door offering demonstrations of the new food preparation tool. With the creation of citrus juicer and food grinder attachments in 1919, KitchenAid mixers were on the road to becoming the versatile "food preparation tools", as they were subsequently styled. Today's KitchenAid stand mixers can be converted to anything from a pasta maker to a sausage stuffer or grain mill with the addition of optional attachments.
The mixer's mechanics remain virtually unaltered, too. An attachment made in 1919 -- the pea shucker, for instance -- will fit on today's model. Tens of millions of KitchenAid mixers have been manufactured at the same Greenville, Ohio, factory that produced the first one in 1919.