The History of the Oven


Early BreakthroughsThere are conflicting reports over where the first ‘oven’ was discovered and in what year, but before anything was ‘invented,’ ovens would consist of burning wood. After a while, new solutions had to be found to deal with the smoke produced from burning wood and some of the first designs of the oven include European cauldrons. They would consist of fire-chambers which would hold the burning wood and would feature holes at the top of each cauldron to safely fan the smoke out.Cast-IronCast-Iron stoves and ovens were brought about in the early 1700s due to the way they were able to retain heat. Some of the earliest examples included ‘Dutch Ovens,’ a method of cooking that wouldn’t be amiss in an American Western. These types of oven would be improved over time so that more pots and pans could be cooked over the fire-chambers at separate heats. Examples of a cast-iron stove include the Rumford Stove, which was effective, but due to its size was not considered efficient. It was similar in design to the Franklin Stove, an invention by the famed Benjamin Franklin.Innovations in Coal and GasThe coal-oven became a significant improvement on the already existing ‘masonry-oven,’ of which early examples were found in the ruins of Pompeii. These started to become more prevalent in the early 19th century and would feature a cylindrical shape carved into a wall with a hole at the top for the steam. When gas-lines became a common feature in houses, inventors started to concoct new innovations and linked the changing times with the oven. The gas-stoves were patented first in 1826 by James Sharp, yet didn’t become a commercial success until the late 19th century.Electricity and Modern TimesWhilst gas ovens were widely used, and still are today, the electric oven saw a boom in the early 20th century where its full benefits were realised. The product had debuted at the Chicago World Fair in 1896, but it wasn’t until the 1930s that markets noticed the increasing trend which was now outstripping the sales of gas ovens.Advances on this innovation were multiple and included ovens that were able to slow cook, broil and featured multiple-burners, similar to the Rumford Stove.Other DevicesAnother invention strongly linked to the oven and its innovative history is the ‘micro-wave.’ These devices were formed at the back-end of World War II and were produced through technology employed during the war. The chief beneficial element was the fact that by using radiation to heat the food, it was able to cook rapidly and save a lot of time.

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Graeme is writing on behalf the Commercial Catering Equipment providers –
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