FOOD: Transforming the American Table

Automated Doughnuts

Krispy Kreme of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, had been making doughnuts since 1937. In the 1950s as the company expanded to a small chain of stores, it sought ways to ensure a consistent and profitable product. The firm created a dry doughnut mix and developed a machine that automated the doughnut-making process. The Ring King Junior formed, fried, turned, and cooled about sixty dozen doughnuts per hour, reducing labor costs.

Ring King machine, 1950

Gift of Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation

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Doughnut  shop, 1950s

Doughnut  shop, 1950s

The Ring Kings’s compact design enabled small retail operations, like this one in Birmingham, Alabama, to make Krispy Kreme’s signature product right on the premises.

NMAH Archives Center AC0594-0000003

Scaled up production, about 1970

Scaled up production, about 1970

New generations of doughnut-making and -packaging equipment allowed Krispy Kreme to expand into retail sales at grocery stores and other outlets. These workers are boxing doughnuts just off the conveyor belt at a plant in Savannah, Georgia.

NMAH Archives Center AC0594-0000005a