In 1908, Herbert Johnson, an engineer and later President of the Hobart Manufacturing Company in Troy, Ohio, was in need for a laborsaving device for mixing bread dough. The result was an 80-quart mixer. Seven years later, professional bakers were using his invention for an easier, more thorough and sanitary method to mix dough.
After World War I, the company turned to peace-time production; and, in 1919, the Troy Metal Products Company, a subsidiary of Hobart Manufacturing, began production of the "H-5", the first in a long series of non-commercial stand mixers utilizing "planetary action." The mixer rotates the beater in one direction while moving the mix around the bowl in the opposite direction.
People often ask how the "KitchenAid" trade name was developed. While testing the H-5 model, wives of Troy Company executives discussed what to call it. One commented, "I don't care what you call it, but I know it's the best kitchen aid I have ever had." The rest is history.
The KitchenAid H-5 rolled off the assembly line at a rate of four per day and cost $189.50. Then, as now, unsurpassed quality was the goal. Nothing was shipped to customers without testing and retesting.
To attract the modern woman of the 1920s, advertising was developed that emphasized how the KitchenAid stand mixer stirs, beats, cuts, creams, slices, chops and strains by electricity. By the late 1920s, kitchens were growing smaller. So, KitchenAid responded with a downsized, lighter mixer that became so popular the H-5 production was stopped.
Then, throughout the 1930s, KitchenAid introduced new, less expensive models that were within the means of many American households. In the midst of the great dust bowl years, KitchenAid recruited the nationally Egmont Arens to design three new stand mixer models. These designs were so timeless in their simplicity and function that they remain virtually unchanged to this very day.
Since 1937, every KitchenAid mixer model introduced has allowed for fully interchangeable attachments, a tribute to common sense and management of resources. Innovation has always been a hallmark of KitchenAid portable appliances. In the mid-1950s, unique new colors were introduced. Households of the day were soon populated with Petal Pink, Sunny Yellow, Island Green, Satin Chrome and Antique Copper KitchenAid mixers, bold departures from the traditional white appliances.
In 1986, Whirlpool expanded its brand base by purchasing the KitchenAid division of the Hobart Corporation and acquiring the Roper brand name in 1989. The three-tiered brand structure now gave customers a clear choice of high-end (KitchenAid), popular (Whirlpool) and value-oriented (Roper) home appliances.