KitchenAid is, more or less, the king of stand mixers (at least in the U.S.) and a household (and bakery) fixture for many generations.
"KitchenAid" now refers to both the self-named mixer (although individual models have different names at this point) and the company, which also now produces dishwashers, fridges, freezers, ovens, and other small appliances such as blenders, crock pots, and coffee makers.
KitchenAid celebrates its 100th birthday this year! Herbert Johnson of Troy, Ohio, created a labor-saving device for bakery use. The first model had a bowl capacity of a whopping 80 quarts! (Most home models are 4.5 or 8 quarts!) After bakeries started picking up the machine with great success, the brand was born and the now-named KitchenAid mixer hit stores in 1919 as the "first electrical food preparer for the home".
There are two basic models of KitchenAid, one the "tilt head" where the top that holds the blades lifts back up and up to remove the bowl from a locking base, and the "stand lift", where the bowl is put on the stand, clamped, and raised up to the stationary head. Neither model has changed much since its inception, except in color and size. The base model starts at $249 new and goes up to nearly $600 for fancier colors and larger capacity.
There are now many attachments, from the classic ceramic paddle and wire whisk, to a bread hook, pasta makers, ice cream makers, and veggie slicers and grinders. The attachments are interchangeable from machine to machine.
The KitchenAid has seen many generations of families through their bread, pancakes, sauces, gravies, and mashed potatoes--and often times, the same mixer! These things are darn near indestructable. They go, and go, and go, and go for years. If I were stranded on a desert island with a fully wired kitchen with power outlets and only allowed 5 kitchen tools, my KitchenAid would be one. I consider it an absolutely invaluable tool for my cooking needs.