Antique Eggbeaters

Ask people which kitchen utensil had a major affect on cooking and most would probably answer, “The knife.” Okay, they’re right, sort of. I could argue and say the knife greatly influenced food preparation, not cooking. But I won’t parse words.
Now others (and I) would argue that cooking was greatly influenced by one particularly exciting innovation…the beater. Ah, the beater! That ingenious rotating apparatus that knows how to whip it good!

Antique Eggbeater Marked PD & CO

Antique Metal Eggbeater Marked PD & CO

With the invention of the rotary eggbeater cooking, particularly baking, reached new dimensions. By eliminating the long and laborious hand beating of ingredients, the rapid motion of rotary beaters added substantial aeration to whipping cream, eggs, and batters. The light and airy texture of angel food cake is a testimony to the benefits of the rotary beater.
Beaters used to whip cream, eggs, or batter fall generally into one of three categories: fixed, rotary, or mechanical. Fixed beaters require hand motion and include simple wire and coiled wire designs. The whisk is an example of this type of beater.
The first patents for rotary eggbeaters appeared around 1865. Rotary beaters have a geared wheel and crank mechanism whereby the rotating blades create the mixing action. In 1870, Turner Williams invented and patented a hand-cranked eggbeater featuring two intermeshed, counter-rotating whisks. It was an improvement on earlier rotary eggbeaters, which had only one whisk.
Mechanical beaters involve pushing up and down on the top to create a revolving motion. Willis Johnson, an African American, patented an improved mechanical eggbeater in 1884. Johnson’s device was not intended for eggs solely. He designed his eggbeater and mixer for eggs, batter, and other baker’s ingredients. Johnson’s mechanical eggbeater was a double-acting machine with two chambers that allowed batter to be beaten in one section and eggs in another section.

Antique Standard Eggbeater

Antique Standard Eggbeater Metal

Since the mid-1850s when the first beater appeared, more than 1000 patents have been granted to this seemingly simple, yet clearly key, apparatus. Collectible early manufacturers include the Henry Roberts Archimedes Beater, the Hess Cage Beater, S & S Hutchinson, Holt/Lyon, Ram, and Dover. Eggbeaters, particularly early cast-iron ones, are much sought-after collectibles.
We recently acquired several beaters including a Christy Knife Patented Fremont Eggbeater valued at $295.00; a Propeller Spoon Beater, $995.00; a Ram Double Dasher Beater, an interesting double-decker affair, valued at $275.00; and a Globe Cream and Eggbeater valued at $1,400.00.
And we also have a Mammoth Dover Eggbeater valued at $495.00. Not too shabby, considering a Dover eggbeater sold for nine-cents in the Sears’ 1897 catalogue!

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