19 September, 2010

Vintage Sunday: The Swirl Mixer


New dog Iris is a bundle of energy who spends most of her day racing around the back yard romping and wrestling with Zim.  By the time nine p.m. rolls around, she's pretty much spent for the day.  She curls up on a blanket on my recliner and goes out like a light, sleeping so soundly that I can easily pose a piece of kitchenware on the side of her head and take my time getting a ridiculous picture.

The kitchenware in question is called a "swirl mixer," which was first introduced in the 1930's  by Rochow Swirl Mixer in Rochester NY.  The graduated aluminum cup is stamped with volume markers from 1/4 cup to a full cup, and the curved lid with the interesting spiral shape stamped into the lid fits the cup tightly.  The idea was to pour mixable liquids into the cup, cap it tightly with the lid, and give it a few shakes.  The spiral shape at the top supposedly encouraged the liquid to swirl and mix more thoroughly.

I'm sure they have a million uses, but I can tell you what they are excellent for:  Scrambling eggs.  Crack a couple of eggs into a Swirl Mixture, add a bit of milk or water as you wish, and give it a couple of good, hard shakes and you have perfectly blended eggs for scrambling.

As long as I can remember, there have been Swirl Mixers in my kitchen.  My grandmother had one.  My mother's got two of them: a one-cup size like the one shown above and a two-cup size.  When I was a kid, they were everywhere; I'd see them all the time at rummage and tag sales, selling for a dime or a quarter.  Although I don't see them quite as often as I used to, there are still millions of them out there. 

And what, you might ask, ever became of the Rochow Swirl Mixer company?

They're still in business, selling and distributing kitchen equipment in Rochester NY.  They don't maintain a website and they seem to concentrate mostly on imports. Up until a few years ago, you could buy a brand new Swirl Mixer from the Vermont Country Store, but the item seems to be discontinued now.

But no matter.  Keep your eyes open at the next church rummage sale if you're going to look for one.  Betcha you find one or more on the kitchenware table.
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9 comments:

J. Astro said...

That's a very cozy-lookin' dog, Dave. :) Nice.

Jess said...

Oh my god, that is so strange. I opened your site today and saw something that we've had in my kitchen that I can remember from my childhood. Whoa. My mom used to use that to make chocolate milk for us...I believe it was her mom's too!

Nice nostalgia and such a CUTE baby! :)

Andrew Green said...

I always wondered what those things were for....
And the dog looks cool, too. He's almost as good at food-posing as that famous bunny with the pancake on its head.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have a "Rochow" "Swirlmixer" That is Salt & Pepper & Sugar shaker & pourer, it is about the same shape and size as your mixer except it is made of plastic, it is clear green on the bottom and clear white on the top, the top rotates to shake and pour salt, pepper, and sugar, and was made for a company called "Stanhome".Stanhome was I believe the first company to intoduce Home Party sales onto the American and world Markets. I am just looking for information on this product before I sell it on E-Bay, I would appreciate any information I can get. Thanks all.

Dave said...

Anonymous - There is very little information about Rochow out there on the web other than a handful of sites selling vintage Swirl Mixers (or aggregating other web sales results.) Sorry I can't be of more help, but maybe a "Completed Items" search on eBay can help you get a better idea of its worth.

jacqsierae said...

i have 1...heehee!

Anonymous said...

Hi,
I was just at a garage sale and boughy one-looked up on my computer to see what information I could find out about the The Swirl Mixer and Rochow. I live not to far from Rochester, NY and that interested me. Sure enough keep up the good work. I love your dog. I own a long-haired chihuahua. From one dog lover to another.
Marilyn

Anonymous said...

The swirl mixer is awesome! I inherited it from my Mother and hopefully, one day, my own daughter will want to use it also. I make delicious sauces and gravy with the one that I own. I would truly enjoy having the 2-cup size. I think that one of the nicest ways that one can express love for their family is by cooking and baking enjoyable food for them. Peace! S. Borrell, Richmond, VA

cwscott said...

Thank you for the information about the swirl mixer. I just found it in one of my late.mother's kitchen drawers. Dad wanted me to pitch it, but I thought I could eBay it.
After reading your post and the comments, I believe I'll keep it to scramble eggs :-)
Love the new pupper dupper. I can't believe she didn't wake up. What's her name?