Collectible Egg Beaters
The precursor of the hand drill, oil drill, and automobile transmission, the seemingly simple egg beater is arguably one of the most innovative of all early kitchen appliance designs. Because this revolutionary hand mixer has been granted more than 1,000 patents since its invention in 1856 and is widely available still, antique enthusiasts of all levels can successfully discover another prime piece to make their own whenever they join the hunt. Eminently collectible, vintage rotary egg beaters in a variety of designs and styles are also sought-after by home cooks in pursuit of the lightest egg whites.What makes a vintage egg beater collectible?
Because there are as many reasons to collect egg beaters as there are collectors, you might begin your quest by searching for a rotary hand mixer that speaks to you. Some enthusiasts may collect manual egg beaters made by a specific manufacturer in memory of great-grandmother's light-as-air holiday cake while others may focus their kitchen egg beater collections on clever industrial designs in appreciation of the egg beater's seminal mechanism. New collectors may want to think about qualities that are important to experienced antiquers as they narrow their selections:
- Age: When they are present, serial numbers can be used to date the collectible hand mixer.
- Amount of wear: Because most antique egg beaters saw much use in the work-a-day home, restaurant, or bakery kitchen, some wear, particularly on the handle, is normal.
- Material: The earliest egg beaters were made of cast iron, though they are now often made from stainless steel.
- Manufacturer: Manufacturer names were usually stamped into the manual utensil's crank wheel.
- Rarity: Hand egg beaters that are harder-to-find are generally more desirable to collectors.
- Working condition: Unless it is extremely rare or has some other particularly endearing quality, vintage beaters in good working order are sought after.
Different manufacturers chose different avenues as they began manufacturing the newly invented and time-saving egg beater. So, antique and vintage beaters are available in several designs:
- Manually cranked drive wheels: Egg beaters of this type utilize the 1856 gear mechanism. Produced by several manufacturers, this group comprises the oldest rotary beaters used in the United States.
- Archimedes type: The mechanisms of these egg beaters are based on the 3rd-century Archimedes screw principle. They were brought to market during the early 1900s as an improvement over the earlier gear mechanism type amid claims that rotary gears could potentially fall out of alignment.
- Early electric hand mixers: First patented in 1921, this type of mixer evolved from a kitchen utensil that provided an easier way to whisk eggs to a kitchen essential that brought speed to a broad range of batter mixing, butter creaming, and food baking tasks. Sturdy and well-constructed, many of the earliest electric beater models remain in good working order.