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Starrett No. 1 Meat and Vegetable Chopper

Display: Highlights of the Collection
Culinary Technique: size reduction

Date: c 1865

Manufacturer: Athol Machine Company

Location: Athol, Massachusetts

Dimensions: 13" h x 16.5" w x 11.5" d

Watch collection donor Mel Mickevic demonstrate this object with
Dean Christopher Koetke, School of Culinary Arts, Kendall College,
and Victoria Matranga, exhibition curator.

One hundred years before the Cuisinart food processor revolutionized the American home kitchen in the 1970s, the Starrett meat and vegetable chopper claimed to be "one of the most useful and greatest labor-saving inventions of the day." In 1875, advertisements stated that "No housekeeper can afford to be without one, while for hotels, restaurants, boarding houses and bakeries they are absolutely indispensable.

The machine was made in four sizes, from eight to fifteen inches in diameter. This example, marked "No. 1", is the eight-inch model, the smallest size, likely used in the home kitchen. The metal drum rotated on a ratchet while the crank raised and lowered the guillotine-action blade, which cut meat evenly as the drum turned.