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  • Writer's pictureBritney Heerten

The History of the Kitchen

Updated: Jun 10

Since Thanksgiving is this week I thought it would be perfect timing to discuss the history of the kitchen.


The original kitchen was simply cooking over a fire outdoors, but then moved into the home where a wood burning pit could have pots hanging over it to cook.

"Metal stoves came into use in the 18th century. An early and famous example of a metal stove is the Franklin stove, invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1742. It had a labyrinthian path for hot exhaust gases to escape, allowing heat to enter the room instead of going up the chimney. However, this stove was designed only for heating, not for cooking.

The industrial revolution encouraged new inventions, cheaper prices, and new ways of economic and ergonomic efficiency. The most common stove for heating in the industrial world for almost a century and a half was the coal-burning. Coal stoves came in all sizes and shapes and different operating principles. Since coal burns at a much higher temperature than wood, coal stoves needed to be constructed to withstand the high heat levels."

The Oberlin Stove was invented in 1834 and is a wood burning cast iron stove that evolved into specialized cooking appliances with flue pipes connected to the chimney, oven holes, and installations for heating water.

An 1890s Penn Olive cast-iron stove with Art Nouveau styling is accompanied by a side arm and copper water heater. The setback cupboard kitchen at left, an antique found at Rejuvenation, dates from the late 1800s. Source:

Instead of burning coal, in the 1920s gas stoves became more popular due to the concerns over air pollution and climate change.

In the 1920s-30s the electric oven became competitive with gas. The first patent on an electric stove was in 1912.

After WWII the kitchen became an entertainment space with more appliances and technology coming to the kitchens.

In the 60s-70s The kitchen became a place to show off designer cookware, a place to increase culinary skills, and the social center of the home.

By the 80s the kitchen became known as a showplace in the home with even more technologies and appliances than before.

Kitchens today have become more sleek, streamlined, and efficient than ever. We constantly strive to make our kitchens more sustainable.

See the source for a more detailed study if you are interested.

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