ArrowrIcon Home icon

Facilities in homes, early-mid 20th Century


Vintage baking tools and equipment

vintage baking tins

This page illustrates and comments on tools and equipment that were commonly used in the preparation of cakes and tarts, etc., up until around the middle of the 20th century.

The introductory page describes the materials from which they were made. I have personally used all the tools and equipment shown here or seen older people using them.

The oven in which my mother did her baking in the mid 1900s was a gas oven. My grandmother cooked on an old cast iron kitchen range.

Typical old china mixing bowl, white inside and cream outside with a raised pattern

China mixing bowl with wooden spoon. For some inexplicable reason, all mixing bowls were like this: white inside and cream outside with a typical raised pattern.

Old all-metal icing set with interchangeable nozzles

All metal icing set with interchangeable nozzles. It was hard work to force icing sugar out through the nozzles, so two fingers of one hand went through the finger holes and the other hand held the plunger. Then both hands worked against each other.

Old hand-operated egg beater, made of metal but with wooden handles

Hand operated egg beater, made of metal but with a wooden handle.

Old flour sieve with metal mesh secured with thin untreated wood which acted as the handle.

Flour sieve. Note that the casing for the metal mesh is thin whitewood, bent and secured into a circular shape.

Old cook's measure for weighing ingredients by volume showing the old imperial weight system of ounces and pounds.

Measure for weighing ingredients by volume. Note the old imperial weight system of ounces and pounds.

Old metal biscuit cutters and moulds for cakes and tarts

Metal biscuit cutters and moulds for cakes and tarts.

How it all changed: the Kenwood Chef electric food mixer

You can see how much hard work it was to use these tools because they had to be used by hand. The Kenwood Chef changed everying. It came on the market in the 1950s and actually mixed food by just pressing a button. It came with numerous attachments for mixing different sorts of dough and the speed of mixing could also be adjusted. It was the ultimate wedding present in the 1960s.

Kenwood Chef food mixer, 1950s

Kenwood Chef food mixer. Photographed in The Lightbox, Woking.

I was offered one as a wedding present by my mother-in-law. The idea was that it was going to save me a great deal of time and effort in my new domestic role. She had one herself and thought it was wonderful. In practice, though, I didn't like its bulk as it had to stand on a visible surface even when not in use. I made it clear that I would prefer a smaller hand mixer. In the end, I had to buy the hand mixer myself, but I have never regretted it.

Text and images are copyright

sources: early 20th century material      sources: ww2 home front and other material     contact
the webmaster/author/researcher/editor     privacy policy

linkedin icon icon facebook icon