A brief History of the Oven
Last year the easy bake oven celebrated its 50th year of being every young girls dream present. The original Easy Bake oven used an incandescent light bulb as a heat source where as nowadays Easy Bakes contain an actual heating element. The way a simple child’s toy can change in just 50 years make me wonder, how much has our ovens changed over the years?
Some of the very first ovens can be traced back to 29,000 BC in Central Europe and around 20,000 BC the Ukraine’s used pits with hot coals covered in ashes to cook their food. The food would be wrapped in leaves and set on top the coal/ash mixture and covered in soil. It is believed that by 3200 BC each mud brick house in Egypt contained an oven in it where they would cook food and make bricks. The Greeks are who we can credit for the first front loading ovens which they invented for easier access when bread making. They would develop a large variety of dough and shapes of the loaves to coincide with the different foods they would serve. This Greek front loading bread oven is considered one of the oldest forms of food processing.
As time went on earth and ceramic ovens became a thing of the past and the fireplace along with large cauldrons were used instead. Wood burning stoves became a great oven improvement as it allowed for better containment of the fire and a source for the smoke to escape.
In the late 19th century coal and gas stoves were developed. The coal ovens were cylindrical and made of cast iron. Gas stoves became popular around this time as gas lines were now becoming available to most communities. The first electric ovens were seen around the late 1800’s but were originally used for commercial use only. As with most of our appliances the demand became so great that they were made to fit in homes and eventually could be purchased at an affordable price.
The latest great oven is the microwave oven which was developed in 1946. The microwave uses microwave radiation that causes friction in the molecules of food thus producing heat.
Nowadays our ovens are fueled by either natural gas or electricity and vary rarely by bottle gas. There are also a multitude of ways in which ovens use to cook food. Most common is the heat from the bottom of the oven which is ideal for baking, next is the heat from the top often called a broiler. The convection setting is one of the newest additions to the oven. Convection provides more even cooking as well as faster cook times. These ovens either have a fan with a heating element or are heat assisted using a small fan to circulate the air.
Though we celebrated easy bakes 50th anniversary I daresay it is doubtful any of us were around for the ovens 50th anniversary. With many changes along the way the oven today is very little like its original. As one of our oldest appliances and one of the most used, the oven has stood the test of time and still proves to us everyday as a reliable way to heat our food.
Learn more about ovens, and cleaning your ovens here.
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