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Black America Library Series

Our Series

Our Visual Library Series serves as a powerful antidote to attacks on diversity, Black history studies, Critical Race Theory (CRT), and books by Black Authors by providing a comprehensive perspective on American History.

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They highlight the often-overlooked contributions and experiences of Black individuals and organizations, promoting inclusivity and challenging stereotypes.

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They foster a deep understanding of the Black American Experience, encouraging open dialogue and ultimately promoting a society where diversity and racial justice are celebrated, not attacked.

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  • Writer's pictureT. Brookshire

Bite-Size Revolution: Anna Mangin and the Culinary Evolution of the Pastry Fork






Anna Mangin (October 1844 - March 1, 1931) was an American inventor and caterer who is best known for inventing the pastry fork, a precursor of many modern electric mixing inventions.


Background

It is believed that Anna Matilda Mangin was born in October 1844 in the state of Louisiana. Little is known of her childhood or early adult years. However, in 1877, she married A.F Mangin, a coal dealer from New York, and together the couple welcomed two sons. Although one of the children was lost to unknown circumstances, the Mangins were literate and were financially stable to become homeowners.


Patent for the Pastry Fork

On March 1, 1892, Anna Mangin was awarded a patent (U.S. Patent Number 470,505) for the Pastry Fork. (Note: This is different from the eating utensil that we know today as the "pastry fork". ) Her pastry fork was a tool used to mix dough for cookies, pie crusts, and other pastries without having to mix the ingredients together with their hands.

Designed with angular tines and cutters, the pastry fork could also be used to beat eggs, prepare mash potatoes, or mix together butter and flour without having to touch the food with hands. Mangin's invention was part of the wave of future cooking gadgets designed to shorten cooking durations and alleviate the physical strain of kneading, mixing, and mashing by hand.





The World Fair in Chicago, IL

In 1893, the World's Columbian Exposition, also known as the Chicago World's Fair, was the first world fair ever held. With more than 150,000 people passing through the grounds each day during its six-month run, it would become larger than all of the world fairs that preceded it. African Americans and women were initially denied opportunities to participate in the exhibitis, but after repeated demands for inclusion, a limited number of non-White exhibits were approved. Mangin’s Pastry Fork was on full display to help showcase a shining example of a female African American's ingenuity. Although her invention occupied only a small corner on the second floor, a writer on female inventions noticed the kitchen wonder and called it “the only thing of its kind at the patent’s office.”





Legacy

Although Mangin’s invention seems only to benefit a small slice of the population, her contribution laid the foundation for future kitchen innovations and made space for future black inventors to win patents and be featured at public exhibitions.

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