Updated: Dec 10, 2022
Kitchen appliances have drastically changed over the years, always improving our lives even more with each iteration. Thanks to these Home Advisor images, seeing how common appliances evolved through history is a little bit easier.
Our refrigerators are finely engineered pieces of tech that are vital to the modern-day kitchen. Devices used to keep things cold date back centuries, but the modern-day refrigerator began in the early 1900s as an icebox. These metal boxes were lined with a metal-like tin and would then be loaded with a massive ice block that would slowly melt as it kept the food in the box cold.
These early ice boxes did the trick, but by around 1915, electric refrigerant-style refrigerators began showing up in homes around the world. These early machines functioned on the same principle that modern machines do, cooling through the use of a refrigerant. However, these early devices, called Domeires used a variety of highly toxic gases as refrigerants. That meant that if your refrigerant stopped running, you might too.
Cheesy jokes aside, manufacturers eventually started using Freon in refrigerators near the end of WWII. You'll notice that around the 1940s is when refrigerators took on their modern shape with doors – and not too much has changed since. Nowadays, refrigerators use tetrafluoroethane to keep our food chilled.
Dishwashers changed the world. First introduced in the 1890s as a hand-powered machine, the importance of these magical kitchen devices grew over the years. Permanent plumbing as part of home construction in the 1920s is part of what caused the use of these machines to increase as more and more homes could be built with a place for a dishwasher.
It really wasn't until the 1940s and 50s that dishwashers became the machine that we know and love with racks and spinning sprays. Other than new engineering tech, the core design really hasn't changed much since then.
Cooking before the modern stove meant using fire. Early stoves were just metal casings that contained burning wood and directed the heat to a cooking surface. In 1900 the first gas-fueled stove was introduced.
Gas would dominate the stove industry for nearly the next 3 decades until electric ovens were offered up as a safer and easier alternative.
Stoves then started evolving from pure pieces of function into modern aesthetic works of art.