Thursday, January 28

O! O! Osterizer!

I found this Osterizer Model 432 at a thrift store this past Sunday, for $10. It's vintage 1957, or thereabouts.

What a score! I love these things. No vintage kitchen appliance collection is complete without a retro beehive blender. This is my third one. Margaritas, anyone?

The Oster Company was founded in 1924 when John Oster brought a hand operated hair clipper to market for the purpose of cutting and styling women's hair. During the first twenty years of the company's operation, it was a leading manufacturer of personal grooming products for barbershops and home consumers.

In 1922, Stephen Poplawski invented the electric blender. He sold it to drugstores as a way to make malted milkshakes for customers at the soda fountain.

Click the picture above to see the whole patent in Google's archive.

In 1946, Oster purchased Poplawski's company, Stevens Electric. This acquisition brought diversification to Oster's product line, and set the stage for Oster to become a leading household appliance brand. Thus the Osterizer was born, the blender that would become an iconic fixture of the mid century American kitchen.

Over time, blenders became more powerful and complex. The 432 featured in this post has two speed settings on the dial; later blenders had many more, my mother's avocado green '70s model had ten speeds. Eventually, however, the quality of mass market blenders began to decline, as consumers voted with their wallets for cheap and disposable products. Like the Chambers range, and the Kitchenaid mixer, this blender is better constructed and has lasted longer than most modern blenders ever will.

In 1960, the John Oster Manufacturing Company was acquired and became a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sunbeam Corporation. Sunbeam also made some great kitchen appliances; old Sunbeam stand mixers are relatively easy to find and highly collectible.

But enough of a history lesson. I need an after dinner snack, and it's off to the freezer to get some ice cream. I want to make a milkshake with my new toy!

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