Eggbeater Artifact Highlight #46

This eggbeater, also called an egg mixer or a cream whip, was donated to our collection in 1982. It comes in two pieces: a heavy cast iron lid and a square glass jar. The lid has a crank wheel and a metal arm with a small wooden handle on the top that turns the oval metal wire whisk that is attached on the bottom.

The lid fits on top of the glass jar with the whisk inside of it. The four sides of the jar are embossed with measurements in cups, pounds, pints and ounces and the bottom of the jar is embossed: “Silvers Trade Mark Brooklyn.”

The eggbeater was made by the J.S. Silvers and Bro. Company around 1900-1917. The company was founded by John Davidson and John Silvers in 1865 as the American Steam Coffee and Spice Mills in Cranbury, N.J.

When John Davidson died in 1890, Silvers brought his brother in as partner and changed the name. The company specialized in selling tea, coffee and flavorings, and later expanded to include grocery products and accessories. The company closed in 1935.

The eggbeater was not only used for beating eggs, but to whip cream, mayonnaise, cakes and custards. The first hand-operated eggbeaters were patented in the 1850s and soon many designs appeared on the market. One of the best-selling was made by the Dover Stamping Company and became so popular, that some recipes called for “dovering” eggs instead of beating them.

The Sacramento Bee, May 22, 1918

The eggbeater revolutionized the American kitchens, reducing a time-consuming chore of beating, frothing or mixing to mere minutes.

The eggbeater was donated by Clarice C. Masson of Auburn. Masson was born in 1904 in Montana. She was a graduate of Placer High School in Auburn and was employed by PG& E before entering the Women’s Army Corps (WACs) during WWII.

The Auburn Journal, July 12, 1956

She was assigned to the Courtland Army Airfield in Alabama as a WAC recruiting officer. After the war she worked as the secretary of the State Board of Equalization then returned to active duty in 1951 and served two overseas tours of duty in France and England. Clarice died in 1998.