Blenders were Invented 99 Years Ago

The story of the invention of blenders began 99 years ago. Prof. Ashoka tells us more about it, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

In 1919, Stephen J. Poplawski, owner of the Stevens Electric company, was under contract with the Arnold Electric company for designing drink-mixers. During this period, he came up with an innovative design, which was initially used to mix Horlicks malted milk shakes at soda fountains. In 1922, he received a patent for it. He also came up with the design for a liquefier blender around the same time as his new drink-mixer.

In the 1930s, American Fred Osius created a new kind of blender by improving upon Poplawski’s design. He approached a popular musician, Fred Waring, to finance and promote his design, the Miracle Mixer, in 1933. Fred Waring redesigned it by improving the knife axis design and jar sealing and released his own version—the Waring Blendor, in 1937. It quickly became an indispensable tool in hospitals and clinics for preparing specific diet foods and helped greatly in basic scientific research. Dr. Jonas Salk used it for developing one of the great medical success stories of the 20th century—the first oral polio vaccine.

In 1937, W.G. Barnard of Vitamix introduced a new kind of blender also known as the Blender that used a stainless steel jar instead of the Pyrex glass used in Waring’s blender jar. In 1946, John Oster of the Oster Barber Equipment Company bought Poplawski’s Stevens Electric company and began designing his own blender, the Osterizer, which in turn was acquired by Sunbeam Products in 1960.

Traditional Osterizer blenders are still sold today. Around the same time, inventors in Europe and Brazil came up with their own variations of the blender. In 1943, Traugott Oertli, a Swiss national, designed a blender, the Turmix Stand mixer, based on the Waring Blendor design.

Oertli also came up with an appliance, the Turmix juicer, capable of extracting the juice of vegetables and fruits. He started selling this as an accessory with his Turmix blender. In 1944, Brazilian Waldemar Clemente, owner of the Walita Electric Appliance Company, came up with the Walita Neutron Blender based on the Turmix Stand mixer. Clemente is also credited with coming up with liquidificador, a word that even today stands for blender in Brazil. Waldemar Clemente acquired the patents to Turmix blenders and juicers in Brazil and used Turmix’s European marketing strategy to sell more than a million blenders by the early 1950s. At the same time, Walita began manufacturing blenders for Philips, Sears, Siemens, Turmix, and many more companies.

In 1971, Royal Philips Co. acquired Walita, which became a part of Philips’ kitchen appliance division.

Serialised from the book, Popular Triumphs of Human Innovation in Everyday Life by Prof. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad
©Prof. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad

Photos from the Internet

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