Imagine being able freshen up the taste of nearly any food with a minor movement of your hand. With a recent explosion of kitchen tech, that luxury is here: Salt and Pepper Shakers.
Before we can understand the complex functionality and processes of the Shakers, a brief overview of their history is required. “Spice boxes,” as they were originally titled, were exceedingly common with the British aristocracy; however, the original model was primitive. Some sort of spoon was used to dispense the contents, rather than the fantastic devices today. In 1850, John Mason, the man who invented the all-important and much-loved Mason jar, marketed his own receptacle which would evenly distribute the condiment—usually salt—evenly over the surface of his meal. Later, at the turn of the century, Morton Salt Company added Magnesium to their salt in order for it to flow smoothly out of John Mason’s shakers. Thus, the salt shaker was born.
Although the Shakers are a baffling technological mystery to most, the science behind them is quite simple. Usually, the shakers are made out of plastic or glass—more expensive options being porcelain. Additionally, most Salt and Peppers Shakers have a finely machined, aircraft-grade aluminum top which either snaps or screws onto the top of the jar. These tops have small holes drilled into them in order to let their contents flow gently out. The way in which these fantastic devices work is quite ingenious: a mammal, usually a human, slowly inverts the shaker and rocks it back and forth. This rotational movement—due to gravity and Newton’s First Law—sprinkles the salt out of the top of the shaker and onto the food.
Additional uses for this technology are pranks, tabletop bowling, and juggling. The tops of the shakers can be taken off and rested on the bo
dy of the shaker so that when an unsuspecting friend comes along, the entire contents of the shaker dumps onto his plate. Conversely, small pieces of paper napkin can be delicately inserted between the top of the shaker’s body and its tip. When this happens, none of the contents spills out. They also fu
nction as bowling pins for mini matches of table-top bowling due to their size and weight. Amazingly, some talented artisans can even juggle such pieces of machinery to demonstrate their skill.
This is obviously just the beginning of major reform and growth in kitchen appliances; incredibly diverse and more spectacular gadgets like Salt and Pepper Shakes are bound to come.
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