In the core of American culture, we can input numerous brands and ideas, but donuts are something that everyone is familiar with. However, it didn’t start the same way as it is today, and in the past, it was a simple business that involved Russian exiles, Dutch immigrants, and French bakers as well as Native Americans.
But we cannot stay that everything started in the USA because according to experts it was the common edible in prehistoric times on Native American. However, the first term doughnut came to Manhattan under Dutch name that meant oily cakes.
Even though baked donuts are part of American Culture, we have to begin with the middle of 19th century and New England’s ship captain Elizabeth Gregory whose mother made deep fried dough with different spices such as lemon rind, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Some people state that she made it that way so that it can stay in the perfect shape on long voyages. She placed walnuts or hazelnuts in the center, where it was difficult to cook through the dough, and she was the one that called them first-time doughnuts.
Even though she was the one that named them, her son had to claim credit for putting a hole inside of it. According to historians, Captain Gregory did it so that it could be more straightforward to digest when you eat it whole, while other stories state because he was low on ingredients.
In both cases, others state that doughnut has the specific shape because the captain had to keep the sheep’s wheel in one hand. The fact is that this particular sweet didn’t come into contact with people until World War I, where thousands of Americans purchased it in France.
Women volunteers served up these men and brought them the taste of home through this particular sweet. When they returned home, they passed the idea of this beautiful taste, and that is when the popularity increased in states.
Click here if you want to see the entire historical background of donuts.
The First Machine
The first machine started back in the 1920s when Adolph Levitt created the first one in the New York City. He was the refugee from Russia, and he began selling them in his bakery. The stories state that hungry theater crowds pushed him to the point to create them faster and with more efficiency.
His machine was the first one that signs the doughnut with a specific brand, and even though it featured fantastic taste, the production became prominent and spectacle. Generations of kids and adults stood in the row to enjoy in the sweet taste of doughnut shops.
Before the circle became prominent, doughs were shaped like a smoke ring, and it featured the same diameter as baseball. When the machines were created it gave them a more refined look and much better taste for less time, which became a sensation.
The idea spread around and by 1931 everyone knew about Levitt’s place in Broadway. This brought to the point where other bakers wanted to have donuts in their shops. Levit was successful, and he started earning $25 million a year, because of deliveries that he made across the country.
His machine has pulled the prejudice out of the idea, and it became the perfect tool to help people in the future. For instance, in 1934 in Chicago, doughnuts were poster material, and they cost less than a nickel so that depression victims could afford them
Check this link: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1931/07/18/glorifying-the-doughnut to see who was the first person that glorified the donuts.
After the film It Happened One Night, Clark Gable popularized the idea of donuts, and that is when they became famous and presented the perspective of every American in the world. French baker Joe LeBeau started the bakery in New Orleans, and he created a secret recipe for donuts that he sold door-to-door.
In 1937, North Carolinians created a way to resemble operation that will stay within figures of Levitt’s, and they created flyers with fragrances for each batch to get closer to potential customers. They used the retail system, which meant that they sold it to grocery stores with the neon ad such as Hot Doughnuts Now that brought the attention of people.
The war stimulated the production of doughnuts, and it was enlisted in the World War II similarly as we’ve mentioned above for World War I. For instance, in 1942, the Army musical romanticized the idea of doughnuts and people that were in military duty wanted to enjoy this particular sweet.
In the middle of ‘50s, Krispy Kreme store-factories were in 12 states, and they have sold hundreds of them in one hour. They had stiff competition because Dunkin’ Donuts that started in Massachusetts was also flourishing.
The elaborate equipment brought us it the point where the percentage of donuts could be count in thousands on an hourly basis, which gave us the possibility to enjoy in this special sweet with ease. During the ‘80s the popularity of donuts declined and the industry thought that the hype was over.
However, in 1997 the sales climbed by 20% because the process of making became technologically advanced and machines could make 1000 doughnuts per hour. They also used secret formulas, and today, you can find them worldwide.
According to statistics, more than ten billion doughnuts are made every year in the USA, and we cannot assume how many in the entire world.