A few years ago, I visited the Newport mansions, where the Gilded Age rich spent their languorous summers while plotting which daughter to marry off to any number of impoverished British noblemen. I found the kitchens to be the most interesting parts of the tours–maybe because I could envision real people working in them, in contrast to the over-decorated formal parts of the houses.
Around 1800 the first stove that was made to cook on was developed by Benjamin Thompson, it was called the Rumford Stove. (Up to 1800, stoves were mostly used for heating, not for cooking.) One fire was used to heat several pots, which hung in the fire through various holes on top of the stove. This stove however was too large for domestic use.
In 1834 the Oberlin Stove was patented in the US, it was the same technique but made smaller for domestic use. In the following 30 years 90,000 units were sold. During this time, the stoves still worked on wood or coal; while gas was available but it wasn’t used until late in the 19th century.
Towards the end of the 19th century, more and more houses got water and sewer pipes, and also gas pipes (used for light.) These pipes were later used…
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