Donut Origins Uncovered
The donut's history begins in the Netherlands; Dutch settlers brought 'olykoeks' or 'oily cakes' to early New York (then New Amsterdam), which were similar to today's donuts without holes.
Hanson Gregory's Invention
In 1847, American Hanson Gregory claimed to invent the ring-shaped donut aboard a lime-trading ship. He reportedly punched a hole to eliminate the uncooked center, creating the iconic donut shape.
Donuts in World War I
Donuts were popularized in America during World War I when women volunteers, known as 'Doughnut Dollies,' served donuts to soldiers, earning the treat a patriotic reputation.
Machine Revolutionizes Production
Adolph Levitt invented the first automated donut machine in 1920, dramatically changing the industry. His invention allowed donuts to be mass-produced, making them widely accessible and popular.
Donut Shops Emerge
The Great Depression saw the rise of many donut shops. Donuts were an affordable luxury, providing a sense of comfort during difficult times, leading to the growth of chains like Krispy Kreme.
WWII and Donuts
During WWII, Red Cross women, known as 'Donut Dollies' again, served donuts to boost troop morale. This reinforced the association of donuts with comfort and American identity.
Innovation and Expansion
Innovation continues as donut variations expand globally. From cronuts to savory versions, the evolution of donuts reflects diverse cultural influences, making it a global phenomenon.