Machine Speeds Pretzel Bending (Aug, 1949)

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Machine Speeds Pretzel Bending

THERE are more crunchy pretzels to munch when you sip long, cold drinks this summer, thanks to a new automatic pretzel-twisting machine that rolls and ties them at the rate of 50 a minute—more than twice as fast as skilled hand twisters can make them. Developed by the American Machine & Foundry Co., of New York City, the pretzel . bender is helping to meet the increased demand of pretzel lovers, who eat millions of pounds each year. On this and the following page is the story of how pretzels march from raw dough to baked twist.

After the machine’s mechanical hands have bent the pretzels into shape, they ride on a conveyer belt past a battery of infrared lamps that make the dough rise quickly. (Ordinarily, fresh dough has to set for a long period before rising.) Following the infrared-lamp treatment, pretzels are boiled in a salt solution at 225° F. to expand the dough and give it a toasty color. Then they pass underneath a hopper that lets fall a shower of rock salt. Finally the pretzels ride into a gas-fired oven, 90 feet long, for baking.


1. Fed into the hopper of the pretzel-making machine, dough is extruded through an opening at the hopper’s side, and cut into proper lengths by a revolving knife blade.

2. Rolled into a “snake” by belts moving in opposite directions, dough drops to front of machine and is picked up by gripper fingers. They wrap it around a pair of shaping wheels.

3. Imitating the tying motion of human hands, the gripper fingers cross over, looping the pretzel to give it the twist. Having completed its tying action, one gripper (above) swings back to its original position while the other gripper finishes knotting the pretzel. The pretzel-forming wheels then pivot downward, dropping the tied pretzel onto a metal plate.

4. While fingers grasp another dough snake, plate holding knotted pretzel revolves, dropping it onto a conveyer belt that carries it through boiling and baking processes.

5. Traveling on a wire-mesh conveyer belt, the pretzels, which have been boiled in a saline bath, now receive a shower of rock salt from overhead hopper before moving into oven.

6. Through an observation door (below) in the lower part of a gas-fired oven 90 feet long, inspectors can check baking of the pretzels as conveyer belt moves through the oven.

7. Worker catches baked pretzels in a carton as they fall down a chute to a weighing mechanism that measures them in 12-oz. lots. Box is then closed and wrapped in cellophane.

1 comment
  1. […] not as easy as your preschool days with play-doh.  In fact, I’m inspired to find or invent a machine to make this meticulous task more efficient if we’re going to get into any kind of production […]

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