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Electric Drink Mixer

Electric mixer manufactured by Wisconsin Electric Co. of Racine, Wisconsin between 1921 and 1928.
(Museum object #2004.18.1A-B)

This mixer, which is an early product of Wisconsin's significant small appliance industry, documents the relationship between several of Racine's most noteworthy manufacturers. The word "Horlick's" on its base refers to the Horlick's Malted Milk Co., also of Racine.

In 1883, William Horlick and his brother James added milk to their formula for a malt-based infant food and called the result "malted milk." As its drink spread beyond the health food market, the company grew rapidly and eventually became one of Racine's best-known businesses.

Wisconsin Electric Co. was established in 1913 by Chester Beach and Louis Hamilton. The two men had previously helped found the Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Co. in Racine to manufacture Beach's high speed fractional horsepower electric motor. According to legend, the Hamilton Beach Manufacturing Co. developed the first practical electric drink mixer in 1911 at the urging of William Horlick, who wanted to make it easier for consumers to mix up his powdered product.

Hamilton and Beach may have approached Horlick with a similar partnership for their new company some years later. Though we do not know which company initiated this joint promotional venture, the mixer that resulted embodies two of Wisconsin's many contributions to national culture: malted milk and the electric mixer. Additional information on Wisconsin's malted milk origins can be found in the online exhibition "That's Meat and Drink to Me."

Posted on January 24, 2005

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  • Business, Technology, & Labor
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