Shortly after World War I ended, Adolph Levitt, a Russian immigrant in the U.S., invented a device that made the process of producing donuts significantly easier and much quicker (via Open Mind). It accomplished this task by transporting rings of dough through a channel of boiling oil and then moving the cooked product onto a ramp before depositing the fried donuts in a basket. That may sound fairly simple by today’s standards, but at the time, it was an ingenious idea to automate donuts.
In 1934, donuts were dubbed the Century of Progress’ hit food by Chicago’s World Fair, thanks to the donut machine. In 1950, the donut machine was reiterated in the form of the Krispy Automatic Ring King Junior Doughnut machine. The inventor? Krispy Kreme’s very own founder, Vernon Rudolph. This new machine did everything: It mixed ingredients and created dough, then molded, deep-fried, cooled, and packaged the resulting delicious treats. The Ring King made 800 donuts an hour and was placed within view of customers to further delight them. Now, donuts were all the rage.
In the last handful of decades, donuts have become ever more ingrained into culinary culture. The main character of America’s longest-running primetime animated sitcom adores them (via MovieWeb), and even police are stereotyped as loving donuts. Chains like Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme have come to dominate the main donut scene, and specialty shops are creating homemade donuts and boutique flavors, like apple cider donuts. All that fame is thanks, in part, to a bit of creative machinery!