Thursday, November 22, 2012

Mixwell makes a Thanksgiving appearance

A very happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

To make this holiday extra special, I pulled out one of my two vintage Dormeyer "Mixwell" stand mixers. As a peace offering for not having posted for an awfully long time, I am bringing you a multi-media presentation of a most delightful 1950s kitchen gadget!

The Mixwell 5020 is one in a series of standmixers produced by Dormeyer under this name ("Mixwell" probably being a play on "Maxwell"). Its sleak, rocket-like profile leans in the direction of the "atomic" vein of mid-century modern design. Unlike other Mixwell models from the time, this model lacks the detachable head which converts it from a stand mixer to a hand mixer.

As you can see, mine is covered in a lovely powder-pink paint that matches my kitchen tiles perfectly!

Very little information about this model seems to be available online. A few examples have been listed on Etsy and eBay in the last year, but I would surmise that, while not rare, a working Mixwell 5020 in as decent condition as mine is a rather rare occurrence.

As you can see in the photo below, the machine and beaters sit slightly off center from the base which holds the rotating platform where the bowl is placed. This characteristic is no design flaw, but rather a feature, as it leaves space in the bowl to maneuver the spatula or spoon without it getting mangled by the beaters.

This model came with two milky-white glass bowls of different size. The larger one is pictured in the last two photos directly above; the smaller bowl makes an appearance later on below.

Here the asymmetrical placement of the beaters with respect to the bowl is clearer to see. The notch in the bakelite handle and the beater-like socket is for the attachment of the juicer accessory.

Here I removed the quarter-sized metal piece that fits into the front to shield the socket for the grinder accessory, pictured below. The pin holds the grinder in place.

Amazingly enough, I got this mixer with its original wooden stamper designed for use with the grinder. How many of those do you think still exist?

These shots show the mechanism of the grinder, including the connection to the mixer in the one close-up. I wonder if this accessory originally came with more circular plates with holes of varying size?

And this photo shows the grinder attached to the body of the mixer.

Here's the juicer accessory (which I should have used to juice the oranges that went into my cranberry sauce below!). There is a possibility it belongs to my other mixer, and that a milky-white glass juicer sans metal post that I have lying around my home actually belongs to this mixer. I should figure all that out…

Regardless, it still fits this model, and the connection resembles that of the metal beaters to the underside of the mixer that I'm sure you're all familiar with from your own kitchen hand mixers and stand mixers.

When in place, the spout of the juicer is placed such that the juice falls conveniently into the bowl below.

The plug, for those of you who are interested in such things!

And here's the complete setup I used to make the cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving dinner.

Now for the multi-media portion of this post! I took a video to show how the Mixwell 5020 functions with its grinder accessory. Unfortunately I couldn't properly capture all the moving parts of the mechanism inside because it was so dark in there. All told, the grinder worked okay, but not as well as a hand-cranked grinder that I also own. I think the rotation of the motor is transferred to the grinder in such a way that it moves rather slowly, hence the long wait before any pulp came out!

The mixer should have also been set to the highest setting ("juice-grind") from the very beginning.

Here's what I started out with:

Here's the consistency of what the grinder produced:

Add a little brown sugar, and it's all done!

Hope you all enjoyed meeting my precious Mixwell 5020. Out of curiosity, do any of you have vintage mixers that you use regularly or even occasionally? How would you compare them with modern gadgets? I've never had anything newer than 1970s, so I'd be curious to hear your opinion.