The History of Kitchen Appliance Inventions

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By definition, the kitchen is a room used for food preparation that is typically equipped with a stove, a sink for cleaning food and dish-washing, and cabinets and refrigerators for storing food and equipment.

Kitchens have been around for centuries, however, it was not until post-civil war period that the majority of kitchen appliances were invented. The reason was that most people no longer had servants and housewives working alone in the kitchen needed culinary help. The advent of ​electricity greatly advanced the technology of labor-saving kitchen appliances.

History of Large Kitchen Appliances

  • Dishwasher: In 1850, Joel Houghton patented a wooden machine with a hand-turned wheel that splashed water on dishes, it was hardly a workable machine, but it was the first patent.
  • Garbage Disposer: Architect, inventor John W. Hammes built his wife the world's first kitchen garbage disposer in 1927. After 10 years of design improvement, Hammes went into business selling his appliance to the public. His company was called the In-Sink-Erator Manufacturing Company.
  • Ovens or StovesThe first historical record of a stove refers to a device built in 1490 in Alsace, France.
  • Microwave Ovens: The microwave oven was invented by Percy L. Spencer.
  • Refrigerator: Before mechanical refrigeration systems were introduced, people cooled their food with ice and snow, either found locally or brought down from the mountains.

History of Small Kitchen Appliances

  • Apple Parer: On February 14, 1803, the apple parer was patented by Moses Coates.
  • Blender: In 1922, Stephen Poplawski invented the blender.
  • Cheese-Slicer: The cheese-slicer is a Norwegian invention.
  • Corkscrews: Corkscrew inventors were inspired by a tool called the bulletscrew or gun worm, a device that extracted stuck bullets from rifles.
  • Cuisinart Food Processor: Carl Sontheimer invented the Cuisinart food processor.
  • Green Garbage BagsThe familiar green plastic garbage bag (made from polyethylene) was invented by Harry Wasylyk in 1950.
  • Electric Kettle: Arthur Leslie Large invented the electric kettle in 1922. General Electric introduced the electric kettle with an automatic cut-out in 1930.
  • Weber Kettle Grill: George Stephen invented the original Weber Kettle Grill in 1951.
  • Mason Jar: John Mason patented the screw neck bottle or the "Mason Jar" on November 30, 1858.
  • Electric Mixers: The first patent that can claim to be for an electric mixer was issued on November 17, 1885, to Rufus M. Eastman. Lillian Moller Gilbreth (1878-1972), the mother of 12 children, also patented an electric food mixer (at a later date).
  • Mixmaster: Ivar Jepson invented Sunbeam Mixmaster, which he patented in 1928, and first mass-marketed in 1930.
  • Paper Towels: The Scott Paper Company was founded in Philadelphia by Irvin and Clarence Scott in 1879. Brothers Seymour and Irvin Scott ran a paper commission business for twelve years, but the poor economy in the 1870s forced them out of business. Irvin and his younger brother, Clarence, then decided to form their own company out of the remains of the first. Irvin reportedly borrowed $2,000 from his father-in-law and added it to the $300 the two brothers had to form the capital of Scott Paper Company. In 1907, Scott Paper introduced the Sani-Towels paper towel, the first paper towels. They were invented for use in Philadelphia classrooms to help prevent the spread of the common cold from child to child.
  • Peelers: The nineteenth-century created numerous kitchen use inventions: toasters, potato mashers, apple/potato peelers, food choppers, and sausage stuffers were all invented. Over 185 patents for coffee grinders and over 500 patents for apple/potato peelers were patented in the 1800s. Early peelers were made of iron and the patent number and other information were included in the casting. Peelers ranged from the familiar and simple round swiveling rod with a knife blade that peeled skin, to contraptions full of gears and wheels that could peel, core, slice, and section. There were separate peelers designed for different fruits and vegetables; there were even peelers that removed the kernels from ears of corn.
  • Pressure Cooker: In 1679, French physicist Denis Papin invented the pressure cooker, called Papin's Digester, this airtight cooker produced hot steam that cooked food more quickly while preserving nutrients.
  • Saran Wrap: Saran polyvinylidene chloride or Saran resins and films (called PVDC) have been wrapping products for more than 50 years.
  • Soap and Detergents: The history of soaps and detergents as we know them today date back to the 1800s.
  • Squeegee: The single-blade window cleaning squeegee was invented by Ettore Sceccone in 1936.
  • Toaster: Toasting bread began as a method of prolonging the life of bread. It was a common activity in Roman times, "tostum" is the Latin word for scorching or burning.
  • Tupperware: Tupperware, plastic containers with airtight lids, was invented by Earl Silas Tupper.
  • Waffle Iron: The waffle iron was patented on August 24, 1869, invented by Cornelius Swarthout of Troy, New York. The patent described the invention as a "device to bake waffles.
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Your Citation
Bellis, Mary. "The History of Kitchen Appliance Inventions." ThoughtCo, Feb. 16, 2021, Bellis, Mary. (2021, February 16). The History of Kitchen Appliance Inventions. Retrieved from Bellis, Mary. "The History of Kitchen Appliance Inventions." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 10, 2023).