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Beyond Kitchen Design: A History of Modern Kitchen Appliances

Beyond Kitchen Design: A History of Modern Kitchen Appliances

Before the most well known kitchen appliances were invented way back to the early part of 19th century, things like light bulbs, dishwashers, central heating, vacuums, garbage disposals and hot water did not exist yet. Most of kitchen appliances were invented because most people no longer had servants. Electricity also improved kitchen appliances. Kitchen design has changed modern homes, transforming our way of life and making households comfortable. Here are some of the things in the kitchen we usually take for granted, where they began, and who invented them.

In 1850, Joel Houghton invented a wooden machine that splashed water on dishes but this dishwasher hardly worked. This was followed by Josephine Cochrans first usable dishwasher in 1886. It was not until the 1950s that dishwashers became popular in the kitchen.

In 1869, Ives McGaffey created the Whirlwind vacuum cleaner which operated manually. In 1901, H. Cecil Booth invented the first powered vacuum cleaner. However, it eventually lost out to more compact devices which would add to kitchen design. In 1907, James Murray Spangler, made a vacuum cleaner with bags to capture dirt and debris, enhancing kitchen design. Hoover Company bought it which became a popular brand in vacuum cleaners. In 1978, James Dyson created vacuum prototypes that improved into the bagless Dual-Cyclone vacuum.

Before the advent of mechanical refrigeration systems, food was cooled with ice and snow. American inventor Oliver Evans invented a refrigerator in 1804. In 1834, Jacob Perkins created the “practical version” that became popular. The kitchen refrigerator was introduced by a Frenchman named Marcel Audiffren. From his idea and patents were the precursors to the Frigidaire found in the kitchen.

For water heaters, the first invention used gas jets in the 1850s. In 1868, the Geyser water heating system was first employed in Europe. The first electric water heater was invented by Norwegian engineer Edwin Rudd in 1889.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, electric ovens and gas ovens competed among kitchen users. Kitchen design improved when Canadian Thomas Ahearn invented the first electric oven in 1882.

Rookes Crompton of England created the first toaster in 1893. However, in 1905, Albert Marsh started to use Nichrome wire, which paved the way for modern toasters in the kitchen. In 1909, General Electric began selling the first commercial toaster invented by Frank Shailor. It was in 1919 that Charles Strite developed the first pop-up toaster, followed in 1925 by the Toastmaster which was the first fully automatic, pop-up toaster.