From the Stone Age to the present, the scientific / technological world is constantly looking for better and more efficient ways to cook food, from wood fires to electric stoves and ending with induction cookers.
On reflection, the electric stove has become a popular choice for homes and businesses, as it is less expensive and more efficient, however to find the stove’s origin one has to go back to the Chinese dynasty, in fact the first known cooking apparatus that completely enclosed a fire was built in clay during the Qin dynasty (221 – 207 BC).
From that moment on many years passed before a real stove landed in Europe, we are in fact in 1490 and, a few thousand miles west of the “Sleeping Giant”, there was the record for the first stove in Europe, in the city ofAlsace, France.
After this important step, we have to wait Benjamin Franklin, which in the second half of the 18th century, invented one wood stove but with an iron structure and, although he was a genius in every respect, he made a serious design error, the mistake in fact was that of letting the smoke escape through the bottom of the stove.
Eventually, the method of expelling the fumes was modified, with the latter being eliminated through a pipe at the top of the stove that led them directly outside, and at this point, the variations of the Franklin model have been the standard for several decades.
Eventually, gas stoves replaced charcoal or wood burners as many customers found them easier to use and, the English inventor James Sharp, received a patent in 1826 and, in the early 20th century, gas ovens were common in households primarily due to their ease of use and nominal space requirements.
The turning point and the arrival of the electric stove
Numerous discoveries set the stage for the next step in the evolutionary process of how people cooked their food, but the turning point came with the Canadian executive. Thomas Ahearn, who put together the first electric range in 1892.
The most important point however came in 1896, when William Hadaway received the first patent for an electric stove and, in the late 1920s, these stoves began to compete with their gas counterparts.
The electric stoves they became more fashionable as they were easier to clean, less expensive and faster, however, some cooks at the time complained that the electric stove took the art out of the kitchen, sacrificing loving preparation for the savings of a few minutes and dollars.
Many companies, however, preferred – obviously – to start producing electric cookers, almost all models of coil heating elements with the same basic components which, even if “removed the art of cooking”, they made life easier for millions of people.
Each electric stove had a thermostat, burners – which were typically made of circular metal cylinders of nichrome alloy resistance wires -, separate grills for grilling and baking, a timer, and an oven light.
The electricity needed to power this electric stove is sent through the wires, producing heat that escapes from the elements, which turn red when the control knob reaches its highest level, with the voltage levels allowed through the wires determining the different settings heat.
Inside the oven there are the cooking grates: a lower element used for cooking and an upper element for grilling and, as in the case of the burners, once the current flow was turned on, the resistive materials allowed each to warm up to the set temperature.
When the oven reached the required level, a thermometer signaled the thermostat to lower the heat, and in the same way, when the oven began to cool, it signaled to resume heating.
THE glass ceramic burners were there next big innovation: introduced in the 1970s, the burners offered the advantage of a low heat conduction coefficient which allowed the easy passage of infrared radiation and, due to its physical structure, the burner heated up more quickly with minimal reheating.
A further advantage of the glass ceramic burners compared to the electric stove was the smooth and flat surface, which was easier to clean and consequently reduced the time spent cooking.
To date, the most advanced technology for stoves are those induction, which heat the floor through electromagnetic induction, however such cooking requires the use of pots and pans with a ferromagnetic base, which for obvious reasons tend to be more expensive than normal pots.
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