Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company

The Culinary Pamphlet Collection (Ms2011-002) is something we’ve talked about on the blog before. With publications from more than 125 companies, it includes a variety of materials: how-to booklets, recipes, advertisements, diet and nutrition plans, and more. The week, we’re taking a closer look at the folder for Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company. It currently contains four publications (the gallery below has sample images from all four):

  • “How to Pack Lunch Boxes for War Workers.” 1943.
  • “Westinghouse Speed Electric Range Recipes.” 1956.
  • “Flavor Zone Electric Cookery: Instructions for Operating Westinghouse ‘Flavor Zone’ Electric Ranges and a Book of Recipes.”
  • “48 Delicious Recipes Waffle-ized.”

In 1886, George Westinghouse founded the Westinghouse Electric Company. Three years later, it was renamed the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company. The first of our pamphlets dates to 1943. The publications produced by the Home Economics Institute were only a small part of Westinghouse’s efforts during World War II. Their equipment was used in radar, they developed engine parts, and employed workers in factories in Pittsburgh. “Flavor Zone Electric Cookery” was probably published about around the same time (or even earlier), before the name changed to Westinghouse Electric Corporation in 1945. Two years before the publication of “Westinghouse Speed Electric Range Recipes,” a companion to the oven unit itself, the company launched the slogan that appears on the back cover. (The company has a more complete timeline of events, depicting the its long and complex history, available online.) The final pamphlet features classic and not-so-classic uses for a waffle iron. It contains recipes for  plain, fruit, nut, and even meat-filled waffles. It also includes directions for making cakes, cookies, breads, sandwiches, and omelettes, all with a waffle iron!

The relationship between of appliance producers and recipe/information booklets is hardly surprising. It seems a short step from an instruction manual to a pamphlet on how best to use an appliance and what you might make with it. The short introduction to “Westinghouse Speed Electric Range Recipes,” addressed to “Mrs. Homemaker” may seem a bit patronizing, but it makes it does serve its marketing purpose: electric ranges were a big step in efficiency in the kitchen. And efficiency was an important value in the post World War II domestic sphere. Even “48 Delicious Recipes Waffle-ized” taps into this theme, providing recipes that suggesting you can get a whole meal (and not just breakfast) out of a waffle iron. Why use multiple appliances, when you can produce a meal with just one?

So, break out your waffle iron and make some chipped dried beef on toast. Or, you might just want to stick with the plain waffles…

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