Adolph Levitt invented the doughnut machine in 1920. Before that, doughnuts were made one by one in a frying pan.
The Wonderful Almost Human Automatic Donut Machine churned out doughnuts at an unprecedented pace. The machine became a local spectacle in Levitt’s Harlem neighborhood in New York City and soon, his business became a city-wide and then a country-wide phenomenon. Doughnuts starred as the featured food of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934, where they were touted as a symbol of American progress because they were made using a machine.
Subsequently, his business grew and he eventually founded the Doughnut Corporation of America and Mayflower Doughnut shops. He became a wholesaler, distributing doughnuts to bakeries around the U.S., and his business was finally worth an astounding $25 million.