There are an awful lot of modern conveniences I wouldn’t want to do without. Showers come to mind. Coffee pots. Washing machines. I can’t even fathom a day in the kitchen without electricity.
Most of us have heard of the Ben Franklin stove, but it wasn’t really what we think of as a stove at all. In 1744 Ben Franklin invented an open cast iron heater, like an insert, that projected out from the fireplace and radiated to all parts of the room. It was used for heating purposes.
A stove to cook on wasn’t invented until 1870, when the fireplace heater was improved upon for cooking and baking. It was still a fireplace insert, often ornate.
By 1885 the common kitchen range had a flat top and round burners, but still no reservoir.
In the late 1890s and early 1900s hard-coal heaters were common, and the flames inside could be seen through an isinglass window. Once gas was piped into city homes in the 1890s, people had gas cook stoves and space heaters.
The steel-plated kitchen ranges with reservoirs, warming closets and nickel plated trim were the norm around the turn of the century. A fancy one cost about twenty dollars or less.
I can tell you I’m very thankful for my kitchen range and microwave. What would Laura Ingalls make of it?