Tuesday, 10 November 2015

History Tuesday/Stoves & Ovens

Well today is Tuesday and that means it is history Tuesday and what to write about today, I have been thinking about it all morning and have decided to write about something pretty much all of us use, the humble kitchen stove/oven.

We take it pretty much for granted we turn a knob and we have heat for cooking in some cases we may have to light the gas but it is still a simple thing to do. However, that of course wasn't always the case. The modern electric stove/oven has only been around since the 1920's the gas stove has been around since about 1820's.

That said there was still many homes that didn't have such stoves still well into the 1950's many still made do with the old log burning stoves or coal burning stoves can you imagine having to get up and light the stove first thing in the morning and to have it going all day because of how long it took to get up and running good enough for cooking, I can't.

It was a British inventor, James Sharp that patented a gas oven in 1826, the first semi-successful gas oven to appear on the market, by the 1920's gas stoves were found in most households with top burners as well as ovens. Of course not all households had gas running into them thus why not all homes could have gas ovens.

Around the late 1800's with the invention of electricity that the electric stove came into use, with an early model being made by a Thomas Ahearn a Canadian who demonstration how a meal could be prepared with electricity at Ottawa's Windsor Hotel in 1892.

My mum who grew up in a small country town had a wood burning stove that she had to light of a morning from about the age of 7, she said it was a big stove about 2'4” and during the winter months they left it burning all night as it would also heat the house.

It is people like mum who love electricity and being able to flick a switch and have light and to just turn a knob and have heat for cooking as she didn't have that for so long when she was a child. They didn't have electricity at all when she was a girl, it was only the year her nan died that they got a kerosene fridge, before hand they had just an ice chest to keep the milk and cream and butter cold.

It was in 1946 that an engineer for the Raytheon Corporation, Percy LeBaron Spence discovered while doing research that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted while he was working on microwave-producing magnetrons. This got him thinking and he did further experiments and realised that microwave radiation could cook food more quickly than by normal heat. Only 8 years later the company produced its first commercial microwave oven, the first domestic version was released in 1967 although because of the high price and the fear about radiation meant it took another decade for microwaves to become popular. Today they are common place and found pretty much in every home.

My grandmother would not own a microwave as she was afraid the radiation would give her Alzheimer's although many years later while suffering from Alzheimer's my pop bought a microwave so he could reheat the meals his daughter in-law made for them by this time nan was unaware that they had one.

So that is all I have for today's post.


Rita said...

We had relatives who heated their homes with wood stoves--in Minnesota! By morning you were freezing while trying to stoke the fire up. Life became a lot easier with electricity and appliances of all kinds. I wouldn't want to go back! :)

Margaret-whiteangel said...

Very interesting post Jo-Anne.
I recall many women have woodfire stoves/ovens. Rather hot in sumner inside the kitchen.

Al Penwasser said...

So, what did Percy use to clean his trousers?
And how did he convince his friends that it was really chocolate?

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

No I wouldn't want to live in such a time, to used to my mod cons

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Yes and in parts of Australia it is bloody stinking hot in summer so would be awful inside the kitchen

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

No idea, just saying

Shady Del Knight said...

Hi, dear Jo-Anne! What an interesting post! I grew up in the 60s without the convenience of a microwave. Life was lived at a much more leisurely pace than it is today. We didn't need everything to be instant. Half the fun of mealtime was waiting patiently for the food to bake in a conventional oven and getting a natural high from the aroma. The old style stoves in your article remind me of the one at the log cabin in the mountains where my family vacationed in the summertime. It was fun going there and living a rustic lifestyle for a week or two.

Red Nomad OZ said...

These history lessons are just fascinating!! I STILL don't have the convenience of a microwave, but I DO have an old-style wood oven that makes the most perfect baked goods and roasts!!

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

Thank you, my mum who grew up with these old wood burning stoves says it is so much better now days turn a knob and have heat or press a few buttons and food cooks

Jo-Anne's Ramblings said...

I use my microwave for reheating and defrosting food not for cooking foods

Now it's dads turn

Guess what, yesterday morning my sister Sandra rings to let me know she had to ring the ambos for dad, he was having trouble breathing an...