Go down any aisle at a major supermarket. Dozens of boxes, cans, and packages with many shapes and colors blind you. The array seems endless. And that is thanks to the way these products are made.
Prior to the Industrial Revolution, many of these food products were made by mixing various ingredients by hand — a time-consuming and laborious task. The length of time it took meant demand didn’t equal product distribution. But, in 1908, this changed thanks to Herbert Johnson, an engineer for the Hobart Manufacturing Company.
Johnson observed a baker mixing bread dough with a metal spoon. While he watched, an idea sparked in his mind, and he started to toy with a mechanical counterpart. One which would have more than one speed. And one which could blend ingredients together in the same proportions every time. Thus, as the 20th century began, Johnson developed. the first the first electrical, standing mixer was invented.
From Johson’s idea came the concept of industrial mixers. Many companies, like AIM Blending, produce these mixers for a variety of companies. One of these is the food industry. And that’s due to the many advantages it has.
First, today’s mixers are both mechanical and digital. Many of them are part of the ever-growing Internet of Things (IoT). They can be programmed to mix at certain speeds and apply ingredients in the proper amounts via tablet or another smart device. This programming means a move even blend.
Second, current mixer models are more efficient. When first used, the addition of ingredients would be made by hand or best estimate. And this resulted in an uneven product. Today’s mixers have pre-measured areas to pour ingredients. Thanks to technology, they are smart enough to release the needed products at certain mixing stages.
Third, blending is smoother thanks to ideas spurned by Johnson’s first invention. For example, instead of mixers which agitate ingredients, new blenders, like fluidizers, use a gentler technique to shift dry and wet materials around for a smoother transition. This gives food a richer and more even taste with each package.
As you pick up that can of soup or pre-made meal, take a moment to thank Herbert Johnson. Though long gone, his idea has helped feed you and your family for many years.