Saturday, 14 March 2020

Kenwood Chef (1950)

Introduced March 1950

Recently we explored a whole bunch of domestic gadgets that are in common use today but actually trace their origins to the Nineteenth Century. One such gadget was the food mixer, tracing its roots back to the 1850s and with electric food mixers coming to market around the turn of the century.

The popularity of such devices grew and in 1950 the British public saw the launch of what is perhaps the most iconic mixer of its type – the Kenwood Chef. Designed (perhaps unsurprisingly) by Kenneth Wood, the original Chef (model A700) came with a variety of attachments that could mix bread, cakes, sausages and even drinks.

Kenwood Chef A700
It wasn’t cheap, the launch price was a little under £20 in 1950s money which is nearly £700 today. Still, it was immensely popular for those who could afford it and it was the sort of thing you could show off to friends and neighbours to make them envious.

Because it was stylish, well-built and versatile the popularity endured, and although over the decades the product has changed and improved in that time, the modern Kenwood Chef is still fundamentally the same as the one from 70 years ago.

Perhaps these days with the rise of pre-prepared foods and takeaways, the food mixer isn’t the must-have appliance that it once was. However, vintage Kenwood Chefs from the 1950s and 1960s have a surprising number of fans, and working ones in good condition can be had for less than £200. If you want a contemporary model then these start at £250 going up to £700 or so, with an even wider range of gadgets you can plug in.

Image credit: Science Museum
CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

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