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Vintage Hamilton Beach & Black Decker Hand Mixers

Vintage Hamilton Beach & Black Decker Hand Mixers

This is a blog post about hand mixers. It will go over the history of these two brands, the models and colors available, the features and attachments, what to watch out for when buying one used or new, and how to maintain these appliances.

In order to prepare for this article I’ll be going over the history of home hand mixers from Hamilton Beach’s founding in 1911 all the way up until Black Decker’s purchase in 2007. I’ll also be looking at how these mixers were marketed, what the mixers provided, their attachments and how they were different from one another.

There are many hand mixers available on the market. I’ll look at the different brands and models and give an overview over all of them. The Hamilton Beach hand mixer is a large heavy machine with a bowl that rotates around, while Black Decker has sold as many as twelve different attachments and colors of their mixer.

I’ll be going over what you need to look out for when buying a used hand mixer as well as give some tips on how to maintain a hand mixer.

Vintage Hamilton Beach Hand Mixers

In 1911, Carl S. Hamilton invented the world’s first handheld household electric appliance in his garage in Racine, Wisconsin. Hamilton’s inventions were primarily built by hand and by 1915 he had added two new products to his catalog of kitchen appliances: a waffle iron and an ice cube maker. The original mixing machine was called the “Electric-Mixer”, used for making dough for breads, cakes, cookies and other sweets at home.

After the mixer was invented, Hamilton was able to go from selling a couple of units to working with one of the largest retail stores in the United States at that time, Sears. He moved his business to Chicago and started selling his mixers through departments stores across the country.

Hamilton Beach’s advertisement from 1915. The mixing machine is called an “Electric-Mixer”.

By 1919, Hamilton had sold over 100,000 units and expanded into introducing new products such as a food chopper. At this time he also introduced a hand-crank version of his electric mixer which could be powered by an extension cord or batteries (for outdoor use).The hand-crank model was an attachment that could be added to the electric mixer, but not sold independently.

Hamilton Beach’s advertisement from 1919, introducing their food chopper.

It was in 1922 that Hamilton began selling another small appliance, the “Beach Toaster”. This year also saw the introduction of the first electric home toaster, patented by Ralph E. Lyman of Chicago in 1918 and further developed by William H. Scull of Detroit in 1922 (U.S. Patent 1,430,434). The Hamilton Beach “Toaster” was a small counter appliance with two heating elements secured on both sides of its metal frame and a pull-down pivoting handle. A lever on the side of the Hamilton Beach “Toaster” could be set to brown or to darken the toast. The company christened its new creation a “Toastmaster” in 1926 and began marketing it heavily.

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Hamilton Beach’s advertisement from 1922, adding their first toaster called the “Toastmaster”.

The use of wood in Black Decker’s Mixmasters changed over time as new models were introduced. In 1953 they stopped using wood handles on their Mixmasters, replacing them with Bakelite handles or metal paint-dipped handles depending on what model was bought. In 1958 Black and Decker switched gears and started using plastic for their mixer’s handles.

Hamilton Beach continued to sell wooden-handled mixers until the 1950s, and even added a wood case for the mixer to prevent splinters. This was called the “rattail” model.

The company introduced its first electric food processor in 1955 and it sold over one million units by 1959. They also developed an electric can opener, electric hot water dispenser and other innovative products.

Black and Decker’s “Beach” mixer shown with its bakelite handles (1958).

The popularity of their products allowed Hamilton Beach to grow their business and by the mid 1930s they had opened up several factories across the U.S. This included a factory in Torrington, Connecticut which was built in 1939 and designed by architect Russell Frederick Soule. The factory remained active until 2002 and was also used as a distribution center, office space and warehouse.

In 1940 Hamilton Beach’s “Beach” brand became one of the first businesses to receive television advertising when it ran commercials for its food chopper on local Chicago stations. By 1945 sales for Black & Decker were $35 million (over $400 million today) and Hamilton sales were at $18 million ($200 million today).

Hamilton’s son Carl E. Hamilton took over the company after his father had died in 1945. Carl ran the company with his son, Carl S. Hamilton II, until 1956 when he stepped down from being president and turned the position over to his son. Marshall Durbin became president of Black & Decker in 1958 and modernized the company by moving it away from its roots of selling wood based tools to metal based ones. Black & Decker continued to develop new tools for their customer base, which included homeowners as well as commercial uses for both industrial customers as well as for use in schools and hospitals.

Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (c.1950s). Note the rattail handle.

In 1970 Black & Decker introduced a new line of hand mixer’s called the “Beach Electric Mixer” which featured a square design and was available in four colors. The mixer had a molded plastic exterior and came with a plastic dough hook, wire whisk, beater and spatula. In 1972 Black & Decker began selling it’s first separate handheld mixer, the “Electric Food Chopper”.

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Hamilton Beach also introduced their own electric food chopper for $19.95 in 1973. The yellow machine had an orange push-button switch and could chop up to 1 cup of foods at once (which is about 2 cups of chopped food). It had a 100 watt motor, 5-cup bowl and cup lid. The mixer had a plastic handle which was secured by two screws and a chrome base with a wire whisk on the front of it.

Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (1973). Note the use of the word “Food Chopper” rather than Food Processor in the name.

Hamilton Beach’s “Beach” Mixer (1974). Note that it uses the same mold as their food chopper from 1973.

Looking at older advertisements from Black & Decker from around 1970 and we can see that Hamilton Beach used to market their products as having slightly larger capacity as well as re-using its mold for many of its products.

With the development in technology, Hamilton Beach made its transition from using wood and bakelite to using plastic in its products. In 1971 a new mixers called the “Beach Mix-It” was introduced and the company started re-using this mold for it’s “Beach” mixer as well.

Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (1958). Note that this is one of their earlier mixers with wooden handles. The handles were also changed over time. Hamilton Beach also continued to market its line of mixer’s as having different colors while making other changes such as adding a larger bowl.

Are old hand mixers worth anything?

A black and Decker “Beach” Mixer (1954). Note the handle design. Over time, Black & Decker began changing the designs on their mixers. In 1974 they phased out its old mixer mold and started using a new one with a different decor. The old mixer’s were made to appear as though they had wood handles while the ones after that used a more modern design with chrome trim. Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (1974). Note the use of chrome trim on this mixer as well as removal of wooden handles from this model. It also has a new mold for its interior components as well.

Is Hamilton Beach a good brand for hand mixer?

Hamilton Beach Mixmaster Electric Mixer (1955). Note the bakelite plastic handle and the knobs which are also bakelite. Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (1974). The mixer has metal parts while still using a plastic mold to make it’s interior components. It also has a metal hand-led lid which screws on. It is interesting to note that this mixer uses the same plastic surfaces for each of its components as well. Hamilton Beach Mixmaster Electric Mixer (1950s). Note again that this old mixer’s mold is used for it’s exterior as well as interior parts.

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How old of a hand mixer is considered vintage?

Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (1969). Note that this mixer also made use of plastic components as well. The interior parts are pretty much identical to it’s younger counterpart from 1974, but the exterior has changed completely. Hamilton Beach’s Power Deluxe Mixer (1960s). Note again that this old mixer’s mold is used for it’s exterior as well as interior parts. It is interesting to note however that the company still advertises this model as using bakelite and metal parts even though they have been replaced with plastic ones by the time this model was made.

How do you use a Hamilton Beach hand mixer?

Hamilton Beach Mixmaster Electric Mixer (1955). The original mixers used bakelite handles which were secured by two screws. They also had hand-led lids which also secured the mixing bowl to the mixer. Black & Decker’s “Beach” Mixer (1974). Note that this mixer has a chrome hand-led lid, chrome handles and a black plastic interior. It also has a metal bowl insert on the front. Hamilton Beach’s Power Deluxe Mixer (1960s). Note again that this old mixer’s mold is used for it’s exterior as well as interior parts.

What is the Hamilton Beach Power Deluxe Mixer?

The Power Deluxe was introduced in 1954 as the “Beach Ken-L-Rator”. It’s original design was very similar to the Mix-It mixer from 1971 and it’s mold was also re-used for their newer model of mixer as well. The Power Deluxe has a chrome base with a platform where its bowl sits. On it are two knobs, one for speed and one for mixing. The lid unscrews in the back and has two prongs that rest on the surface of the bowl when it is placed into place. Both the head and the handle have rotating plastic components which allow them to be removed and replaced when need be.

CONCLUSION:

Looking at the mixer’s history and comparing it to other products on the market today we can see that Hamilton Beach made some of the best mixers in the market while Black & Decker was a company that had failed to make the transition from their Bakelite and wooden products to ones made of plastic. Both companies were still making mixers until around 1975 when they both went out of business.

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