History of the StoveFollowing our History of the Kitchen, we thought we'd take a look at the history/evolution of the various aspects and appliances of what now constitute the modern kitchen. This week we are following the evolution of the modern stove.
|Your basic gas range|
|...or a $100,000 range, which might be out of your range...it's made of gold and it cooks gold|
Earliest StovesAsian civilizations created ovens that totally enclosed the cooking fire much earlier than Western civilizations; China, Korea, and Japan had clay stoves by 200 BC:
|ancient clay oven|
Then in the Middle Ages, the hearth started becoming the center of peoples' home and family life. The hearth was usually waist high and made of stone, with a chimney, or simply a hole in the ceiling, above it to funnel out the smoke from the fire. As Europeans attempted to improve their hearth stoves, they built brick and mortar walls on three sides of the fire, and covered the front with an iron plate.
Enclosing the FireEnclosing the fire had the additional benefit of containing the smoke (at least to some extent). Inventors continued to improve wood burning stove, and by the mid-1700s, cast-iron stoves started to become popular, the first of which may have looked something like this:
|note the smoke pipe on top, pots and skillets could be placed on top|
Gas, and ElectricityGas stoves were invented in 1826, but it wasn't until the 1920s when enough houses had gas lines that gas stoves could really catch on. Similarly, electric stoves had been available since 1890, but did not catch on until the 1920s and 1930s.
|funky gas stove|
The stove, nowEvery modern dog breed, from the Chihuahua to the Great Dane, was bred from domesticated wolves (or, speaking contentiously, dogs came from a 'wolf-like common ancestor'):
|we are the same, You and I|
Similarly, today there is a myriad of stoves derived from our early ancestors cooking over a campfire. There are giant ranges for industrial kitchens, and there are tiny propane camping stoves that fit in a backpack.
I've cooked deer sausage in a duck blind in the winter, and we have all grilled outside on a BBQ grill, powered by coal, propane, or even wood. In Mexico, they cook tortillas outside on a Patsari stove:
|fueled by wood, coal, or dung|
|this pizza is powered by the stars|
A hamburger place in Boston, Louis' Lunch, has been open since 1895, and has been credited by some as possibly having invented the hamburger. They are open to this day and still use 3 upright stoves from the 1890's to cook their burgers:
|Louis' Lunch broilers|
|this is a stove|