Development History of Oven from Cast Iron to Electric
The Earliest Oven
According to the history records, ancient people first began cooking by open fires. The cooking fires were placed on the ground and then simple stone construction was used to hold the wood and food. It is said that simple ovens were used by the ancient Greeks for making bread and other baked goods. By the middle ages, taller brick & mortar hearths, often with chimneys were being built. The food to be cooked was often placed in metal cauldrons that were hung above the fire. The first written historical record of an oven being built is referred to an oven built in 1490, in Alsace, France. This oven was made entirely of brick and tile, including the flue.
Improvements to Wood Burning Ovens & Iron Stoves
Inventors began to make improvements to wood burning stoves primarily to contain the bothersome smoke that was being produced. Fire chambers were invented that contained the wood fire, and holes were built into the top of these chambers that cooking pots with flat bottoms could be placed directly upon replacing the cauldron. One stone design of note was the 1735 Castrol stove invented by French architect François. It contained the fire, and had several opening covered by iron plates with holes. In about 1728, cast iron ovens really began to be made in quantity. One successful and compact cast iron design was Stewart's Oberlin iron stove patented in the 1834. Cast iron stoves continued to develop, with iron gratings added to the cooking holes and are somewhat like the current built in ovens in construction.
Gas Electricity Oven
The British inventor James Sharp invented a gas oven in 1826, the first semi-successful gas oven appeared on the market. Gas ovens were found in most households by the 1920s with top burners and interior ovens. The evolution of gas stoves was delayed until gas lines that could furnish gas to households became common. During the 1910s, gas stoves appeared with enamel coatings that made the stoves easier to clean. One important gas design of note was the AGA cooker invented in 1922 by Swedish, the Nobel prize winner Gustaf Dalin. It was not until the late 1920s and early 1930s that Electric Oven began to compete with gas oven. However, electric ovens were available as early as the 1890s. However, at that time, the technology and distribution of the electricity needed to power these early electric appliances still needed improvements. Some historians credit that Canadian Thomas Ahearn with inventing the first electric oven in 1882. However, the Ahearn oven was only put into service in 1892. One major improvement in electric ovens was the invention of resistor heating coils, a familiar design in ovens also seen in hotplates.
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