Food for Thought: The History of the Oven
12 Dec, 2013
Conventional, convection, microwave, toaster: Ovens have come a long way since ancient times. Before the first official oven was created in 1490, open fires were used to cook and heat food. Imagine cooking Thanksgiving dinner over an open flame or making lunch in a metal cauldron! Fortunately, today’s versions of the oven are energy efficient, temperature controlled and available in sleek stainless steel. Let’s take a trip back in time and look at the changes the oven has undergone through the years, according to About.com.
1490: The first oven recorded in history was built in France, made of brick and tile. While there may have been others before this, the French oven is the first on the books.
1735: François Cuvilliés invented the Castrol stove, also known as the stew stove. This wood-burning stove was an advancement as it helped contain the smoke coming from the fire in the oven.
Early 1800s: An iron stove was invented by Count Rumford that not only heated multiple pots, but also could be adjusted to cook each pot at different temperatures. One step closer to our gas and electric ranges of today!
1880s-1900s: Electric ovens were invented, but they did not become prominent until the late 1920s as electricity technology improved. The first patent for an electric oven was issued in 1896 to William Hadaway, who also designed the first Westinghouse toaster.
1940s: Percy Spencer – an engineer at Raytheon – discovered the heating qualities of a microwave beam in his radar research project. Later in the decade, the microwave oven was invented and sold commercially.
Present day: From stainless steel double wall ovens to gas and electric ranges to microwaves, there are dozens of cooking options available today compared to the yesteryears. Luckily, you don’t have to cook your dinner over an open fire tonight!
If you love to cook – or if you are looking for a holiday gift for the chef in your life – check out our holiday gift guide to find the perfect presents for cooking lovers or chef items to add to your wish list!