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A Kitchen Wonder: The Invention of the Food Processor

November 26, 2013

With the holidays here, some of us are going to be spending considerable time in the kitchen. What would the holidays be, after all, without a proper feast to celebrate them? So it seems only fitting to take a moment to commemorate an invention that has proven to be a real time-saver over the years for cooks of all descriptions: the food processor.

Multiple inventors can lay claim to being the creator of this handy tool. The generic food processor is largely an outgrowth of the technology used, of course, in a food blender (a device that was already popular in the 1930s).

This occurred to Pierre Verdun, a French catering services salesman, in the late 1950s. Verdun had noticed that food professionals spent much of their time simply slicing, chopping, and grating food items to prepare them for cooking. So he reasoned that this process could be automated for the sake of convenience and productivity, along with the opportunity to develop a money-making product. By 1963, he had designed a prototype that featured a bowl with a motorized revolving blade in its base and a tube for inserting the food item to be processed, all enclosed in one unit. He called the contraption a Robot-Coupe and set up a company to offer early models to the catering trade.

Meanwhile, in the United States, an industrial designer named Albrecht von Goertz, a German émigré better known for designing sports cars, created a food processor for the German firm Electrostar (which had developed a line of blenders in the 1940s). While Verdun had been more interested in the utility of his models, Goertz (dubbed the “007 of Design” by a German newspaper) seemed more interested in the aesthetics of his designs, such as the legendary Starmix MX3.  

While firms in the U.K., France, and Germany were offering food processors throughout the 1960s, the device’s future was only well and truly made when Carl Sontheimer, an American engineer who grew up in France, designed a food processor in the early 1970s. He called his offering a Magimix and quickly set up a company, Cuisinart, in 1973 to manufacture new models. It was his kitchen wonder that eventually conquered the U.S. market.

So, as you slice and dice your way through the holiday meals ahead of you, provided you are using a food processor to help out, remember the thoughtful inventors who made your chore just a bit easier.   And don’t forget you can find Keystone products in most food processors, such as:  LED Spacers & Lens Caps, Anti-Vibration GrommetsTest Points, and Screws & Panel Hardware.

Now spend that bit of extra time you’ve been spared to enjoy the festivities with family and friends. Happy holidays!