Anja Hitzenberger, Donut, 2007
Martin Munkácsi, [Mayflower Doughnuts, New York], 1933
The first Friday in June is National Doughnut Day!
The Mayflower Doughnut shop (“Pep up with good doughnuts”) was founded in 1931 by Adolph Levitt, who also invented the life-changing doughnut machine… In the ’30s there were two Mayflowers, across the street from each other, at 54th and Broadway in Manhattan…
We can tell you a little about the doughnut-making place in Broadway, the old Lucky Strike show window, you know. It isn’t exciting enough to go there especially to see, but it’s cleaner than a steam shovel in an excavation and provides the same kind of entertainment. Doughnuts float dreamily through a grease canal in a glass-enclosed machine, walk dreamily up a moving ramp, and tumble dreamily into an outgoing basket. Twelve hundred doughnuts an hour are turned out. The first time we stopped there the rail outside the window was heavy with people looking. A man whose straw hat moved when he chewed and a woman in a red dress were still there looking when we came back that way after more than half an hour.
The New Yorker, July 18, 1931, p. 11
There’s a lot more to the doughnut than dough these days. We asked Mr, Sugerman (of the Doughnut Corporation of America) for a statement… he said that he was standing pat on the one he had made at the opening of the first Mayflower shop: “We have taken the doughnut out of the mire of prejudice that surrounded the heavy, grease soaked product of the old open kettle, and made it into a light, puffy machine product.”… the doughnut’s routine is the same: floating in a canal of grease, riding up a moving ramp, then being dipped variously by feminine hands and eaten, two for fifteen cents, with coffee… The doughnut interests have been waging a fight against doughnut jokes, which they consider prejudicial. Their opinion of dunking is favorable; they’ve issued leaflets to establish that it’s good taste. People still stand by the thousand outside the shops watching the machines work, hour after hour, which is reassuring.
The New Yorker, Dec. 17, 1938, p. 14