Todays modern kitchen is packed with essentials that no so long ago our grandmothers and great grandmothers had to cope without. Kitchens are by far the most evolved room in the home and have seen the most progress in terms of technology, creativity and invention.
It was only in 1923 that Eskom was founded bringing with it the advantages of residential electricity. Soon after the refrigerator, electric stove, microwave, electric kettle washing machine and even the modest toaster were common and essential appliances in the family kitchen.
Improvements to Wood Burning Ovens
Around 1800, Count Rumford – Benjamin Thompson, invented a working iron kitchen stove called the Rumford stove that was designed for very large working kitchens. The Rumford had one fire source that could heat several cooking pots, the heating level for each pot could be regulated individually. However, the Rumford stove was too large from the average kitchen and inventors continued to improve their designs.
One successful and compact cast iron design was Stewart’s Oberlin iron stove, patented in the 1834. Cast iron stoves continued to evolve, with iron gratings added to the cooking holes, and added chimneys and connecting flue pipes.
Wood burning stoves were messy with soot and smoke remained a real problem for indoor cooking. Frans Lindgvist designed the kerosene oven and the first practical cast iron coal oven was patented in 1833 by Jordan Mott.
Gas oven developed around the same time as the kerosene and coal ovens. British inventor, James Sharp patented a gas oven in 1826, the first semi-successful gas oven to appear on the market. Gas ovens were found in most households by the 1920s with top burners and interior ovens. The evolution of gas stoves was delayed until gas lines that could furnish gas to households became common in Europe and America.
During the 1910s, gas stoves appeared with enamel coatings that made the stoves easier to clean. One important gas design of note was the AGA cooker invented in 1922 by Swedish Nobel prize winner Gustaf Daln.
It was not until the late 1920s and early 1930s that electric ovens began to compete with gas ovens, however, electric ovens were available as early as the 1890s. However, at that time, the technology and distribution of theelectricityneeded to power these early electric appliances still needed improvements.
An electric stove was exhibited at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. On June 30, 1896, William Hadaway was issued the first patent for an electric oven. In 1910, William Hadaway went on to design the first toaster made by Westinghouse, a horizontal combination toaster-cooker.
The microwave oven was invented by self-taught American engineer Percy L. Spencer. While working for the Raytheon Company, discovered a more efficient way to manufacture magnetrons. The microwave oven was a by-product of another technology used during World War II. It was during a radar-related research project around 1946 that Dr. Percy Spencer, an engineer with the Raytheon Corporation, noticed something very unusual. The chocolate bar in his pocket melted when he walked past the radiation beam. The first food to be deliberately cooked with Spencer’s microwave was popcorn, and the second was an egg, which exploded in the face of one of the experimenters. To verify his finding, Spencer created a high density electromagnetic field by feeding microwave power from a magnetron into a metal box from which it had no way to escape. When food was placed in the box with the microwave energy, the temperature of the food rose rapidly.
On October 8, 1945, Raytheon filed a US patent for Spencer’s microwave cooking-process, and an oven that heated food using microwave energy from a magnetron was soon placed in a Boston restaurant for testing. The first time the public was able to use a microwave oven was in January 1947, when the Speedy Weeny vending machine was placed inGrand Central Terminal in New York to dispense “sizzling delicious” hot dogs.
Most of us grew up with Tupperware in our homes and most of us still rely on this quality product to store food. Tupperware increases the shelf life of fresh foods as the airtight seal of the lid limits foods exposure to air and the air tight seal means less spillage while the container and lid does not warp and is virtually unbreakable. The Tupperware container was invented by Earl Silas Tupper. Tupper was a New Hampshire tree surgeon and plastics innovator, who began experimenting with polyethylene, a new material used primarily for insulation, radar, and radio equipment. He patented the Tupperware seal in 1947. Tupper used “Tupperware Parties” to market the product, a unique way of marketing directly to homemakers.
Tupperware was not welcome at first. Consumers were confused as to how to operate the lids. Store sales lagged. In the late forties, home demonstrations of the products proved enormously successful, indicating to Tupper the potential power of direct demonstrations. By 1951, he had pulled all merchandise off store shelves and channeled it solely through direct home sales. Tupper hired Brownie Wise, a charismatic single mother and one of his first direct sellers, to design the Tupperware; direct selling system. The concept grew to be a household phenomenon, the Tupperware Party.
Today, a Tupperware demonstration begins approximately every two seconds some place in the world with yearly net sales exceeding $1.2 billion.
Even before the invention of the refrigerator,icehouseswere used to provide cool storage for most of the year. Placed near freshwater lakes or packed with snow and ice during the winter, they were once very common. Natural means are still used to cool foods today. On mountainsides, runoff from melting snow is a convenient way to cool drinks, and during the winter one can keep milk fresh much longer just by keeping it outdoors.
The use oficeto refrigerate and thus preserve food goes back to prehistoric times. Through the ages, the seasonal harvesting of snow and ice was a regular practice of most of the ancient cultures: Chinese, Greeks, Romans and Persians. Ice and snow were stored in caves ordugoutslined withstrawor other insulating materials. The Persians stored ice in a pit called ayakhchal. Rationing of the ice allowed the preservation of food over the warm periods. This practice worked well through the centuries, withicehouseremaining in use into the 20th century.
The first known artificial refrigeration was demonstrated byWilliam Cullen at theUniversity of Glasgow in 1748. American inventorOliver Evan is however acclaimed as the “father of refrigeration”. He invented thevapor-compressor machine in 1805. Heat was removed from the environment by recycling vaporized refrigerant, where it moved through aCompressor andcondenser where it eventually reverted to a liquid form to repeat the process. However, Evans never built his invention.
In 1834,Jacob Perkinsmodified Evans’ original design, building the world’s first refrigerator and filing the first legal patent for refrigeration using vapor-compression.
Modern dishwashers are descended of Josephine Cochranes 1887 invention Josephine, a women with tremendous vision, invented an advanced dishwasher, which was hand-powered, and was unveiled at the 1893 ChicagoWorlds Trade Fair. Cochrane was quite wealthy and was the granddaughter ofJohn Fitch, the inventor of thesteamboat. Irritated by her servants chipping her fine china Josephine, who had never washed a single dish herself, invented the dishwasher to protect her dishes.
In the 1920s permanentplumbingwere installed in some models. In1924,Englishman William Howard Livensinvented a dishwasher small enough to be used domestically. It had many of the features of a modern dishwasher, including a front door for loading, a wire rack to hold crockery and a rotating sprayer. An electric drying elements were added in 1940.
Initially home appliances were standalone or portable devices in a kitchen, along with other sinks and the water heater, but with the development of the wall-to-wallcountertopand standardized height cabinets, dishwashers evolved into standardized size and shape appliances first integrated with the sink, and then underneath the kitchen countertop as a modular unit.