Who Invented The Blender

vitamix-blenderIt is an item used a lot in kitchens, and whether you are after a home-made milkshake, alternative baby food, or for separate foods to not be so separate, a blender performs the messy task that its name implies. But who first came up with the idea of creating the blender?

In the year 1922, American Stephen Poplawski (owner of the Stevens Electronics Company) is credited as having first produced the idea of implementing an electronic fast-spinning blade at the bottom of a plastic container as a means of turning more solid foods into liquid, with an official patent (‘device for turning fruit and vegetables into liquid’) being awarded to him in 1932.

It could be argued that he got his inspiration mainly from the first-ever AC/DC motor created by Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Co. in 1910, although the company’s co-founder Fred Osius would go on (over 25 years later) to find ways to improve on Poplawski’s product.

Despite Osius’ and other developer’s future attempts, though, there have been not been many groundbreaking developments or improvements on the original concept aside from improved reliability and small modified features, as well as much greater levels of marketing, which was funded by singer Fred Waring, whose interest in gadgets is said to have convinced him to financially back Osius’ design for a ‘Miracle Mixer’ which was later renamed as the ‘Waring Blendor’.

The product was advertised by Osius on roadshows across America in the late 1930’s, and the concept has not looked back since, sold by many companies worldwide with slight tweaks of features including specific food settings, timers, and speed levels. Blenders are now used in a number of day-to-day cooking activities, but drinks (in particular alcoholic ‘mixers’) remain the device’s main domain.

However, with modern society and video sharing websites such as YouTube, it is not just common food that gets put under the blender’s blade, as the popular Blendtec-operated web series Will It Blend? demonstrates. Featured below are blending attempts at an iPad, trainers, glowsticks, and a collection of Justin Bieber memorabilia. Just remember to keep the lid on…

Blender – Wikipedia

Who Invented Supermarkets

shopping basketThe supermarket is one of the things that society takes most for granted, and while they somewhat lack the charm of a small business for specific areas of groceries (e.g. bakers, butchers, fruit stalls, etc.), they are by far the most popular method of purchase with consumers, due to their lower prices, higher product range, and an ‘all-in-one’ feel to the location. Giants in the industry such as Wal-Mart (USA), and Tesco (UK) are always branching out into new ventures (banking, electronics, insurance, etc.) to expand their circle of operations, and it is tough to imagine that there was once a time where such a concept did not exist. So who first came up with the idea of a multi-purpose shop?

Clarence_Saunders95 years ago, to go shopping, a person would either buy their specific groceries from a specialised shop (e.g. bakers), or visit a ‘retail store’, in which a customer would list the items they want before an assistant collected them from a storage room or behind-counter shelf. 1916 would be the year to revoloutionise this concept, though, after Clarence Sanders, a local grocer who had moved to Memphis (USA) looking for a more efficient way to run this type of business, would create the concept of a ‘self-service’ store. Putting his money where his mouth was, he would create the first business of its kind, ‘Piggly Wiggly’ (which still runs today as a franchise). This would lead to several patents awarded to Sanders for his concepts used on the first-ever Piggly Wiggly store alone.

The concept of self-service shopping would catch on fast, and the supermarket was also said to be responsible for the breakout of brand power, with users now identified more with companies who make products now that they have a choice (pre-supermarket ‘retail stores’ would not have this kind of situation, as the customer would not actually see the name of the company that made the product). For Sanders, who passed away in 1953, the supermarket would be the first of several concepts he was patented with (such as ‘keedoozle’ (a larger, manned version of modern-day vending machines), and a self-service checkout (‘foodelectric’) (which is seeing an increasing emergence in newer supermarkets)), and is seen now as a character who was way ahead of his time in his way of thinking.

Today, supermarkets are the primary method of all retail, and with the concept so popular, it was only natural that a gameshow was made of it. Here are some highlights of a format

Supermarkets- Wikipedia

Who Invented The Marshmallow

marshmallow-scrub-1220-pThey are widely regarded as a popular form of candy in a variety of sizes, to suit a variety of purposes such as cooking them on a campfire to supplementing a mug of hot chocolate, and can be equally enjoyed on their own merit, but who first invented the unexplainable form of sweet taste that is the marshmallow?

It is said that original ‘marshmallow candy’ had first come about in ancient Egyptian times. This early effort was made by a form of honey candy that was then thickened and flavoured by sap from a Marsh-Mallow plant (the plants were found in and around salt water basins).

In the 19th century, this form of treat would form a purpose, with the Marsh-Mallow plant’s extracted juices being cooked according to recipe to create a ‘hardened foamy meringue’ that was termed as a ‘medicinal candy’ used in efforts of healing children’s sore throats.

Despite more advanced and stock-friendly mass manufacturing methods and ingredients replacing the plant extraction approach used in creating the snack (which would lose the medicinal effect of its more natural counterpart) come the mid-1800’s, the marshmallow (today made with key ingredients such as corn syrup (or sugar), gelatin (for shape), gum arabic, and flavoring) was becoming popularised as a common snack.

With developments taking the manufacturing process from ‘hand-crafted’ to ‘machine-assisted’, 1948 saw the pinnacle of development in this field, when Alex Doumak, an American man employed in this field, experimented with new methods of marshmallow making. What he discovered was a faster method of creation now known as the ‘extrusion process’, which involves sending a fluffy mixture through long tubes and pipes ready for cutting into equal pieces, the types of marshmallow seen most commonly today.

In 1953, the Just Born candy would be one of the first to really begin mass-producing, marketing and selling marshmallows, with the novelty of chick-shaped marshmallows known as ‘Peeps’.

Since then, other confectionery companies have made and sold marshmallows by the proverbial bucket-load, with the snack fast becoming seen in many shapes, sizes and colours while being applied to numerous sweet-based recipes (such as s’mores).

Marshmallows – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Pretzel

pretzelsPretzels are commonly known as the small and oddly-shaped salted snack similar to potato crisps/chips, but the term does infact extend to include a plethora of baked goods that share the distinctive knot-like appearance. The doughy version is most popular in Germany and the USA, but the whole world is aware of the tasty tied-up snack. But who first came up with it?

There are several claimed origins of pretzels, with 12th-century Germany, and Spain (date unknown) both touted, but the most common answer to the question is that the ‘pretzel’ design was first concieved by an Italian priest, who baked them as rewards for children who learned their prayers (hense the ‘praying hands’ shape). This is the recognised origin of the snack, yet it is German culture which is synonymous with the pretzel, as it was where it was given its recognised name, with the snack developed over time in that country.

Pretzels as they are best known today are as light snacks, and their distinctive shape and variety of flavours (although salted is still the main choice) gives them a strong foothold as a marketable product, and with such demand, it is fortunate that modern technology is on hand to help mass-produce a popular item of food such as this. Below is a video that gives an overview of this process:

Pretzel – Wikipedia

Who Invented Christmas Pudding

christmas_puddingThe Christmas Pudding is a tradition that is strongly followed at many households (with varying levels of detail) worldwide that celebrate the holiday, and is seen by some as the perfect finish to a traditional Chrismas dinner. Nowadays, customers can easily purchase one from a shop or bakery, but despite the lengthy history of this unique food item the creation of a pudding can pass by unnoticed, so who was it that originally invented this dessert, when did they do it, and why?
While the inventor of Christmas Pudding cannot be pin-pointed in the history books, a legend behind the history of it suggests that there was a royal influence to its inception, a medievil English folk tale telling the tale of a king on Christmas Eve in lost in a forest with little supplies or food, who seeked food and shelter from a poor woodman’s cottage. The occupant did not have much food either, though, so the king’s servant was asked to mix together a meal from all the collective ingredients remaining from both people (chopped suet, flour, eggs, apples, dried plums, ale, sugar and brandy), and after being boiled in a cloth, the mixture became a delicious pudding for everyone to share.
The pudding was said to have become widespread in 1714 after King George I had ordered it to become part of the official royal Christmas dinner, despite objections from Puritan Christians, who claimed that this dessert was not in accordance with God’s will due to the rich ingredients. George I carried on regardless, though, and the Christmas Pudding has been a symbol of the holiday season ever since.
The use of plums in the recipe (which is said to have dated back further than the folk tale in various incarnations, including a recipe for a ‘sweet soup’) meant that the dessert was originally known as ‘plum pudding’. Although this tradition has long since disappeared, there are many more that have withstood the development of the pudding to what it has become today (in size and ingredients).
These traditions have included some people using exactly 13 ingredients for the pudding (representing Jesus & his disciples), putting coins (originally silver) in the mixture for the recipient (whoever had a slice with coins in, kept them, representing wealth going into the new year), and allowing each family member to stir the mixture whilst making a secret wish, amongst other religiously-based rituals.

While widely available nowadays from external outlets, those that cook their pudding from scratch might prepare it weeks or months in advance in advance to honour historical methods, as well as to allow the flavour to mature, such as with wine. If they do this, then they may want to get it just right for a fun reason, as Christmas Puddings are also notable for being a ‘flambe’ (flammable) food, with a group of TV chefs showing how this entertaining pre-meal ritual can be achieved:

Who Invented The Thermos Flask

Who Invented The Thermos Flask

thermosflaskgreenA relatively unnoticed or unused item in many of today’s insulated and heated homes, but for people in lesser-equipped houses, colder climates, or outdoor activities in the winter months, a thermos flask can be key to keeping that refreshing hot drink at a toasty temperature, and keep cold drinks… not frozen, with any drink now able to be taken in as fresh as when it was made. Who came up with this small and portable, yet powerful insulator for liquid?

The answer is James Dewar, a physicist and chemist from Scotland, first came up with the idea of the ‘vacuum flask‘ (also known as the ‘Dewar flask’ at the time) in 1892. After a German scientist Reinhold Burger made a similar discovery, that it could keep hot drinks warm, he created a company to sell the flasks (it would be sold on a few years later) starting in 1904 under the company name of Thermos GmbH, the only trader of the device at the time. The business soon took off with the public, and due to its unique brand name, adopted the flasks to be known as ‘thermos’.

The product would be the recipient of several innovation-based awards, and the company grew its invention to test new materials, sizes, and purposes (such as a food jar). As well as being a crucial drinks-carrying device for the British military during World War II, the flask would also be used in scientific experiments for atomic energy. The product would continue to grow, and now can be used to maintain the condition of, and transport important medical material, such as blood transfusions, amongst a wide range of uses.

Today, thermos flasks are made from either plastic, metal or glass, and with the use of hollow walls and a vacuum-based insulator, any possible heat transfer is prevented when the cap (which often doubles as a drinking cup) is on. The video below from German TV (audio in English) demonstrates the basic function of the product, and the history of it in Germany:

Thermos Flask – Wikipedia

Who Invented The Coke And Mentos Experiment

coke and mentos did not take off in popular culture until 2006, when two journalists (David Kestenbaum and Michele Norris) released a blog based on it

coke&mentosIt is not normally socially acceptable to play with your food, but in the instance of a ‘coke and mentos eruption’, the entertainment value can throw that perception out of the window. Who introduced the world to this bizzare application of science?

Despite the experiment being shown and explained on a TV chat show in 1999 (by physics student Spencer Tyler), ‘coke and mentos‘ did not take off in popular culture until 2006, when two journalists (David Kestenbaum and Michele Norris) released a blog based on it, and within months video sharing websites such as YouTube were packed with new videos of people trying the creation of a carbonate beverage-based explosion for themselves.

After many tried efforts with a variety of mints (or even fruit-flavoured ‘mentos’) and drinks (such as lemonade) in combination, it is regarded that the combination for a big explosion is to use Diet Coke and Original Mint-flavoured Mentos. This ‘formula’ provides the quickest reaction, and therefore the ‘highest’ explosion, with the Guiness World Record height for an explosion measuring at over 9 meters (with the aid of a nozzle). A testament to the popularity of the ‘coke and mentos’ explosions is that some joke shops now sell mentos with the advertised purpose of causing explosions.

An example of this bizzare experiment can be seen in the video below:

Diet Coke and Mentos Eruption – Wikipedia

Who Invented Tic Tacs

Everyone knows Tic Tacs as the packet of small flavoured pellets (usually mint) that are good for either a small snack, or for breath refreshment, but a question that will often pass people’s minds is “who was it that came up this product, and when?”

tic tacsEveryone knows Tic Tacs as the packet of small flavoured pellets (usually mint) that are good for either a small snack, or for breath refreshment, but a question that will often pass people’s minds is “who was it that came up this product, and when?”

In 1969, the Ferrero family, owners of the (extremely secretive) Italian snack company Ferrero and famous for other products such as Nutella, Kinder Surprise, and Ferrero Rocher, decided to enter the world of ‘breath mints’, launching with the original ‘Fresh Mint’ flavour, and expanding to include different varieties based on other mints and fruit, along with special editions based on the time of year, and now, ‘mixed bags’, where a pack may contain two different flavours (e.g. ‘Lemon & Lime’). The expansions have seen Tic Tac become one of the most well-known snacks around, especially in the mints department.

Having seen over 40 different flavours come and go over the years, Tic Tacs are still very much a popular snack, with the stand-out features of recent TV adverts further raising their profile. An example of this can be seen below, with the costumed ‘Tic Tac people’ part of the slogan campaign ‘another refreshing little lift’.

Tic Tac – Wikipedia

Who Invented Coffee

History of Coffee

Its hard to believe that at one time you could not wake yourself up with a strong cup of stimulating caffeine filled coffee. So where does coffee come from?

cupcoffeeDating back to the 15th century in the far east are legends that say coffee was first discovered by a goat herder in the Yemen. He noticed that after eating the red fruit of the coffee bush his goats stayed awake all night.

Expresso Machines
In 1822, the first espresso machine was made in France. In 1933, Dr. Ernest Illy invented the first automatic espresso machine. However, the modern-day espresso machine was created by Italian Achilles Gaggia in 1946. Gaggia invented a high pressure espresso machine by using a spring powered lever system. The first pump driven espresso machine was produced in 1960 by the Faema company.

Coffee Filter
Melitta Bentz a housewife from Dresden, Germany invented the first coffee filter. She wanted to brew the perfect cup of coffee without the bitterness caused by overbrewing. She decided to invent a way to make a filtered coffee, pouring boiling water over ground coffee and having the liquid be filtered, removing any grinds. Melitta Bentz experimented with different materials, then used her sons blotter paper from school worked best. She cut a round piece of blotting paper and put it in a metal cup.

On June 20th, 1908, the coffee filter and filter paper were patented. On December 15th, 1908, Melitta Bentz and her husband Hugo started the Melitta Bentz Company. The next year they sold 1200 coffee filters at the Leipziger fair in Germany. The Mellitta Bentz Company also patented the filter bag in 1937 and vacuum packing in 1962.

James Mason
James Mason invented the coffee percolator on December 26, 1865.

Instant Coffee
Probably best known around the world is instant coffee which is easier to dissolve in hot water. This was invented in 1901, by Japanese American chemist Satori Kato of Chicago. In 1906, English chemist George Constant Washington, invented the first mass-produced instant coffee. Washington was living in Guatemala and at the time when he observed dried coffee on his coffee carafe, after experimenting he created “Red E Coffee” – the brand name for his instant coffee first marketed in 1909. In 1938, Nescafe or ‘freeze dried’ coffee was invented.

Decaffeinated Coffee
Some wonder what the point is of taking the caffeine away but decaffeinated coffee was invented in 1903 by German coffee importer, Ludwig Roselius, who turned a batch of ruined coffee beans over to researchers. Although not the first to remove caffeine, they perfected the process of removing caffeine from the beans without destroying any flavour. He marketed the coffee under the brand name ‘Sanka’ (a contraction of ‘sans caffeine’). Sanka was introduced into the US in 1923.

coffeeplantCoffee Facts

Coffee is the second most traded product in the world after petroleum. World wide coffee production tips the scales at about 6 million metric tonnes.

It takes five years for a coffee tree to reach maturity. The average yield from one tree is the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee.

People who buy coffee primarily at drive through windows on their way to work will spend as much as 45 hours a year waiting in line.

Of the various botanical species of coffee trees in the world, only two are extensively cultivated commercially; Arabica and Robusta.

The first coffee house in Europe opened in Venice in 1683, while coffee was available in Europe as early as 1608, mostly for the rich.

The largest coffee producing nation is Brazil, responsible for 30 to 40 % of total world output.

The history of coffee video

Wikipedia Coffee Page

Who Invented Bubble Gum


Like a lot of inventions, Watler Diemer (1904-1998) didn’t get it right on
the first attempt.

bubble-gumIn 1928, Walter Diemer who worked as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company in Philadelphia, experimented on new gum recipes in his spare time. But his latest batch was less sticky than regular chewing gum and it stretched more easily.

Originally the idea of bubble gum was thought up by
Vincent Geoffion Hughes in 1906. with his assisant, Keegan C. Marr,
they came up with a gum which was too sticky so they gave up as they
had better things to do.

In 1928 Diemar produced a gum which wasn’t
sticky and did not fall apart. He explained that it was an accident and
that he was doing something else when he found something which made
bubbles. He first discover the bubbles when he was 23 years old. When
Diemer first put it on sale in the local shop, it sold out on the first day and was so successful that it sold over a million and a half dollars worth of gum in the first year.

It was first called “Blow Gum” then “Blow Bubble” then “Dubble Bubble”.
The Dubble Bubble gum was not under threat by any competition for years.

Three year later, Bazooka(bubble gum and sweet company) ask Diemar to
join and become vice president. He took the job and it was a great success!

There were at least a dozen chewing gum companies from
the United States, but the industry was relatively undeveloped. William
Wrigley Jr started to sell Chewing gum under his own name. Mr.Wrigley
sold a chewing gum which became the most popular called Juicy Fruit. It
was a big hit in North America.Then Spearmint gum and Dubblemint, which are still a classics favourite all over the world today.

As the company continued to grow, more gum was invented. For example:-

Orbit complete
Extra (in different flavors)
Hubba Bubba
and many more….

Amazingly Diemar never received royalties for his invention, his wife told the newspapers, but he didn’t seem to mind; knowing what he’d created was reward enough. Sometimes he’d invite a bunch of kids to the house and tell them the story of his wonderful, accidental invention. Then he’d hold bubble-blowing contests for them.

Facts About Gum

# During WW1, US military personnel spread the popularity of chewing gum by trading it and giving it as gifts to people in Europe, Africa, Asia and around the world.
# The first patent for chewing gum was issued in 1869 to William F. Semple, a dentist from Mount Vernon, Ohio.
# Did you know that their are more than 1,000 varieties of gum manufactured and sold in the Untied States.
# Cinnamon, Spearmint, and Peppermint are the most popular flavors of gum.
# Do you know why gum is pink? The color of the first successful bubble gum was pink because it was the only color the inventor had left. The color “Stuck” and today bubble gum is still mostly pink.
# North America kids spend approximately half a billion dollars on bubble gum every year.
# The largest bubble ever blown was 23 inches in diameter. The record was set on July 19, 1994 by Susan Montgomery Willams of Fresno California.
# Tips for getting gum unstuck from clothing: try scraping off any excess gum with a dull knife and then rubbing the area with ice until the remaining gum rolls off into a ball.
# We’ve done the impossible and now, you can try it to! We’ve done all this while blowing a bubble. Smiling through your teeth, frowning, laughing, out of the bottom of your mouth, side of your mouth, top of your mouth, while kissing something, and while blowing your nose.

How gum is made

* The gum’s ingredients are melted and filtered.
* Powered sugar, glucose syrup, flavoring and the other ingredients are slowly added to the gum base until the warm mix thickness like dough.
* Machines called extruders are used to blend, smooth, and form the gum.
* It’s time for gum to be shaped. Gum can be flattened and cut into sticks, or squeezed into a rope shape and cut into chunks, or molded into shapes, and candy coated.
* After the gum is cut or molded into the appropriate shape, it’s lightly sprinkled with powdered sweetener to keep it from sticking to machinery.
* In carefully temperature controlled room, the gum is cooled for up to 48 hours. This allows the gum to properly set.
* If the gum is candy coated, like most gum balls or pellet gum, it’s sprayed again. This process is repeated several times until the candy shell reaches the proper thickness.

Interesting facts about gum from the past

Ancient Greeks chewed a gum like substance called mastic. Women especially liked gum because it cleaned their teeth and it exercised their jaw muscles.
# The longest gum wrapper chain on record was 7,400 feet in length and was made by Cathy Ushler of Redmond, WA between 1969-1992.

How To Blow The Perfect Bubble Gum Bubble

Some people seem to have the knack to blow huge bubbles with any piece of gum while others never quite get the hang of it. Try following these instructions, but remember not to cheat and use your hands at any time – the preparation of the gum must always take place in the mouth.

1. To begin with, use one piece of bubblegum and work it around your mouth until it is soft. Then roll it into a ball with your tongue and using the roof of your mouth to lean on. Then move this ball of gum so that it is right behind your front teeth, and use your tongue again to flatten the ball into a small, flat, circle. Push it against the back of your teeth to flatten it.

2. The gum should now be behind your front teeth in the flattened shape. Using your tongue, push through this flat piece of gum until your tongue is covered by a thin layer of gum – be gentle, don’t just poke your tongue right through! Then take your tongue out of the layer. If it does burst, you must go back and re-roll the gum and then flatten it out against your teeth again.

3. Now you have got this thin layer of gum. Hold it with your lips and blow from your lungs, and a bubble should appear. Many people make the mistake of blowing just out of their lips but this will not be strong enough to produce a proper bubble. Keep blowing as long as you can, or until the bubble bursts.

4. Once you have done this a few times, try adding to the piece of gum in your mouth and see what sort of bubble you can produce with more than one piece. It definitely passes the time!!

More Resources

Wikipedia bubble gum page