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Electronic Cooking Appliances in the 1920s

2013-07-07   Views:0

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Electricity was first discovered by Ben Franklin in the 1700s but didn't become common in households until the 1920s. According to Classzone, by 1924 two thirds of American homes had electricity, although the Illinois State Museum states that only 1

Electricity was first discovered by Ben Franklin in the 1700s but didn't become common in households until the 1920s. According to Classzone, by 1924 two thirds of American homes had electricity, although the Illinois State Museum states that only 1 per cent of Illinois farms had electricity in 1920 while a greater number of suburban homes had electricity. Names common today such as Hotpoint, Sunbeam and General Electric came into existence at this time. Many kitchens required remodelling to accommodate needed wiring to run the new electronic cooking appliances.

Concepts

When cooking went electric, many combinations and ideas were tried. Coffee makers were mixed with toasters. Table top marshmallow machines were sold as cookware for parties. Waffle makers had reversible hotplates to also cook sandwiches similar to some hotplates today.

First Appearance

The middle of the 1920s saw the advent of many items we use today. Electric toasters appeared, but were not like the pop-up toasters we know. Two grates were mounted on a central heating element with the sides of the unit opening up at the top like doors to access the toast. Coffee percolators appeared with nickel finishes and ebonized wood handles. Waffle irons and double boilers also arrived during the 1920s. Modern refrigeration was developed by DuPont but successfully utilised by General Electric.

Prices

Newspapers of the day advertised many new electric appliances. The Green Bay Press Gazette offered oversized electric ovens and grills for £38 in 1920 with a payment plan of £1.30 down and £1.30 per week. A 2 ¼ qt. double boiler sold for 70p in 1920. In 1921 a 9-cup percolator coffeepot sold for 70p, but by 1924 an aluminium percolator was 98 cents. Electric toasters sold for £4.30 while electric table stoves (the predecessor to modern hotplates) sold in the range of £1.20 to £8.10 in 1924.

Related Items

Related items used for mixing and storage also appeared during the 1920s. Stephan Poplawski was hired by the Arnold Electric Company to build a mechanical mixer for milk shakes in 1919. Within 18 years the first actual blender for home use appeared. It contained an agitator blade at the base similar to modern blenders. Refrigeration units were available in the early 1920s but were hazardous to use due to leaks and explosions. By 1927 General Electric found a way to encase the compressor and introduced the use of freon. This unit was labelled the "Monitor Top" because the compressor was on top of the refrigerator. This was the first modern version of what we know today.

Design

Many electric cooking devices resembled their nonelectric predecessors. Toasters originally were an open design with no casing; this was later resolved with sculpted deco shells. Percolators resembled the silver coffee servers of the previous century. Waffle irons looked like the hob models of previous days.

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