By Mary Bellis
In 1922, Stephen Poplawski invented the blender. For those of you who have never been in a kitchen or a bar, a blender is a small electric appliance (see picture left) that has a tall container and blades that chop, grind and puree food and beverages. Stephen Poplawski was the first to put a spinning blade at the bottom of a container. He used his appliance to make soda fountain drinks. In 1935, Fred Osius improved on Poplawski's idea and invented the famous Waring Blender.
In 1910 L.H. Hamilton, Chester Beach and Fred Osius formed the Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Co that became well known for their kitchen appliances. Fred Osius later began working on ways to improve the Poplawski blender
History of the Waring
Fred Waring, a one-time Penn State architectural and engineering student, was always fascinated by gadgets. He first achieved fame fronting the big band, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians, but the blender made Waring a household name.
Fred Waring was the financial source and marketing force that thrust the Waring Blender into the marketplace, however, Fred Osius invented and patented the famous blending machine in 1933. Fred Osius knew that Fred Waring had a fondness for new inventions, and Osius need money to make improvements to his blender. Talking his way into Fred Waring's dressing room following a live radio broadcast in New Yorks Vanderbilt Theatre, Osius pitched his idea and received a promise from Waring to back further research.
Six months and $25,000 later, the blender still suffered technical difficulties. Undaunted, Waring dumped Fred Osius and had the blender redesigned once again. In 1937, the Waring-owned Miracle Mixer blender was introduced to the public at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago retailing for $29.75. In 1938, Fred Waring renamed his Miracle Mixer Corporation as the Waring Corporation, and the mixer's name was changed to the Waring Blender.
Fred Waring went on a one-man marketing campaign that began with hotels and restaurants he visited while touring with his band, and later spread to upscale stores such as Bloomingdales and B. Altmans. Waring once touted the Blender to a St. Louis reporter saying, " this mixer is going to revolutionize American drinks." And it did.
The Waring Blender became an important tool in hospitals for the implementation of specific diets, as well as a vital scientific research device. Dr. Jonas Salk used it while developing the vaccine for polio. In 1954, the millionth Waring Blender was sold, and it is still as popular today.
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