Saturday, January 9, 2021

The first donut machine

When World War I ended in 1918, many soldiers returned home to the United States— bringing their hunger for donuts. Adolph Levitt, an immigrant from Russia, spotted a business opportunity. He became the first to produce machine made donuts.

Adolph Levitt emigrated from Russian with his family to America in 1892. His father died within a year, forcing Adolph to leave school at the age of 10.

As a teenager, he began a mercantile business with his brother, John. They opened several stores using their plan to put merchandise in the windows to attract customers. The stored prospered for a while but, it didn’t last.

At 37, Adolph moved to New York and bought into a bakery chain. He soon realized that there was a strong consumer demand for doughnuts, sparked by soldiers returning from WWI clamoured for the donuts they eaten in France.

Adolph heard about this and he began frying up doughnuts. He started out cooking the doughnuts in small batches in a kettle at the window. As he turned each doughnut over with a stick, people would stop to watch.

People lined up to watch the donuts fry and to purchase them fresh. Soon, he was unable to keep up with the customers' demands. He needed a machine to make the process more efficient.

Levitt had an idea for a donut machine that could fry and automatically turn donuts while pushing the fumes to the roof with a fan. The first machine didn’t work, but they tried again, and again. Finally, in 1920, the twelfth model was successful. With a such machine, he would be able to produce in a greater numbers and meet the demand.

The total cost was $15,000. Levitt called his machine The Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine.

He chose Mayflower Donuts for his brand name. He put the machine in the bakery window and produced large quantities of donuts. A circle of dough, shaped like a ring dropped from the hopper and into vat of boiling oil and then, once cooked, ascended a moving ramp before falling into a basket.

People stood watching the dough go in and donuts come out, Bakers came from across the country, they immediately appreciated its benefits, since even this first model could turn out 1,000 identical donuts in an hour.

In 1950, Vernon Rudolph invented the Krispy Automatic Ring King Junior Doughnut machine. Designed for cake doughnut production and taking up only seven square feet, the Ring King Junior was a compact machine that handled the whole process: mixing the ingredients, creating the dough, moulding it into the ring shape, deep-frying, cooling and packing the cooked doughnuts into boxes.

Donut machines grew to be more refined and many other companies produced their own version of Levitt’s machine.
The first donut machine

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