Vegetable mixer

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Far from the ready-made bag, mixed as you wish, onctuous purees and vegetables soups nicely presented in a soup bowl, are associated with a vegetable mixer.

The vegetable mixer was invented by Jean Martelet (1900 -1991) after a hard working day which finished with an horrible puree full of lumps. He had to experiment a lot before getting results. Actually, he listened to his wife. After explaining to him how difficult it was to mix vegetables for soup, using a complicated machine given by a German friend, he heard her complaints. She was always looking for a good grater of the right size, so he invented a machine with only one grating, easy to take apart and simple to use.

On February 1932, 16, at 2.50 pm, he deposited a patent letter, number 732 100, in INPI (National Institut for Industriel Property) for his vegetable mixer. Then, he showed it in the Lyon Exhibition, for a cost of 36,00 F, but didn’t sell any. He counted again and two months later, exhibited at the Paris Fair, selling the vegetable mixer for a cost of 20,00 F. Success arrived, and in his company in Bagnolet (in department 93, next to Paris), every day, 7 000 to 8 000 machines were produced.

 moulin à légumes

Copyright : Mélodie

Little by little, Jean Martelet invented other machines, for example: the « moulinette » to mix raw food, patent letters were deposited in 1935.
In 1937, because of social movements from the Popular Front (1936) he thought about going to country. One of his secretaries came from Alençon in Normandy. She showed him an empty factory. He bought it but kept his factory in Bagnolet.
During the second world war, there was not a lot of work to do in the factories, so, with his associates, he invented other machines to cut, grate, and hash…

After the war, in the kitchen, we find even now, the « Mouli-persil » to mix parsley, garlic, shallot, and eggs; the « Mouli-rape » to mix cheese, chocolate; the « Mouli-Julienne » to mix raw vegetables, the« Mouli-sel » for salt, the « Mouli-poivre » for pepper, the « Moutardier-Mouli » for mustard, and the « Mouli-baby » to mix baby food.

moulin à persil
Copyright : Mélodie

Between 1929 and 1953, Jean Martelet deposited 93 patent letters but while he was able to improve some things, he did not invent anything really new. So he tried to invent something superficially new, something which automatically spelled vegetables: the « Legumex« , so-called because at the time, names with « ex » were fashion.

In the fifties, to compete with the Rotary factory, he invented a small electric coffee wheel and in 1957, his factory was called « Moulinex« . His slogan was very fashionable « Moulinex libère la femme: Moulinex makes women free » because it showed the modernity of the housewife when she’s using modern and time-saving machines.

Today, after being restructed financially several times, Moulinex doesn’t exist anymore as Moulinex but it’s still a kitchen equipment symbol.

To know more about this subject, I invite you to read the book of Hervé Bizeu : « Irremplaçable moulin à légumes, Histoire, Mythes & Influences, 100 recettes«  published by Glénat 1997.