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The Evolution of Tortilla Technology

Tortilla technology was modernized 100 years ago with the invention of the stone mill, which replaced the metate, and the pressure plate tortilla maker, which replaced the traditional hand made tortilla. The automatic tortilla making machine with rotating cooking and figure cutting plates was invented 75 years ago:

If this technology had not been invented, the amount of manual labor that women would have had to do to make all the tortillas by hand would have been enormous.

Tortilla machines capable of automatic cooking first appeared in 1915 after several decades of technological research. The first Celorio machine, that reproduced the traditional cooking process by mechanical means, was made in 1947. However, these machines still used rollers that tend to produce coarse tortillas, wire to separate the tortillas, which tend to produce rough tortillas, and figure cutting plates, which produce tortillas with a hard edge. Today there are about 25,000 nixtamal mills that, together with 23,000 fully automatic tortilla making machines, produce about 12 million tons of tortillas every year for the Mexican market.

In today's modern world there are many new technological advances, such as computers, lasers, the use of microwave and infrared energy, cell phones, television, etc., but none of these new technologies have been incorporated into the commercial tortilla producing process so as to modernize the tortilla shops and mills in Mexico. Tortilla producing machines have not undergone significant modification since the were invented.