After vacationing in France in the early 1970s, retired physicist Carl Sontheimer was inspired to go back to work. He’d seen a new gadget—a mechanized food processor for restaurants—and wanted to retool it for passionate home cooks like himself. His machine was efficient and versatile: mixing eggs into puff pastry took 15 minutes for a human, 10 minutes for a trained chimpanzee, but just 15 seconds in the food processor. Immediately, revered chefs including Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, and James Beard applauded the invention, and Beard even wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to the machine. Decades later, Cuisinart’s line of innovative products ranges from waffle makers and rice cookers to eco-friendly nonstick pans.