Popular kitchen gadgets from every decade

The evolution of modern cooking Kitchens have changed pretty dramatically over the years. And


Kitchens have changed pretty dramatically over the years. And with new technologies, changing habits and evolving food trends, an endless stream of gadgets and appliances have hit the shelves through the decades. Starting in the 1920s, we’ve zipped down memory lane to bring you the kitchen tools that have defined cooking through the ages.



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After the First World War, kitchens were changing in America, Britain and beyond. With more women filling the workforce than ever before, the need for nifty, time-saving cooking devices was paramount. Enter the automatic toaster. A pop-up toaster that could brown bread on both sides at once was patented early in the Twenties and, by 1926, it was on shelves under the name ‘Toastmaster’.



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The KitchenAid was another slick gadget that sped things up for time-poor women. Mixing dough and batter by hand can be arm-aching work and – for those who could afford it – the new KitchenAid, an automatic stand mixer, meant waving goodbye to this toilsome task. It was invented in 1919 but, by 1927, the company had introduced their “model G” mixer: a lighter and more compact version of its predecessor that sold like hot cakes.



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The 1930s continued in much the same vein as the 1920s, with more and more time-saving gadgets popping up on kitchen counters. Stephen J. Poplawski is widely credited with inventing the world’s first electric blender, used for mixing malt drinks and milkshakes in diners across America, in the 1920s. But it wasn’t until the stylish Waring Blender was introduced in 1937 that it became a true kitchen essential. This vintage snap shows the classic model being used a little later, in the 1950s.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Oh, the humble potato peeler. Imagine how much longer your roast spuds would take without this simple bit of kitchen kit. The painstaking task of peeling potatoes was made a lot easier with the invention of the Zena Rex speed peeler (pictured centre) in 1947. Still on the market today, it was dreamt up by Alfred Neweczerzal and is considered an icon of Swiss design.



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The busy 1950s housewife didn’t have time to wait around watching pots boil – and so Russell Hobbs came to the rescue. Though electric kettles had existed since the late 19th century, the brand introduced a model that would simply switch itself off when done (like modern-day kettles do) in the mid-Fifties. The progressive appliance was marketed as “the kettle that watches itself” and was promised to be super safe, as well as time and electricity-saving.



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It’s easy to see why this appliance appealed in the Fifties. The deep-fat fryer created moreish, filling food fast – think fluffy triple-cooked chips and golden fried shrimp, reminiscent of the ever-popular diners of the era. They were made for domestic use in the late Forties and became ubiquitous in homes through the Fifties and Sixties. They lost favour in the Eighties as people became increasingly concerned with eating more healthily.



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A Fifties innovation that took up decidedly less space was the non-stick pan. It was the brainchild of French engineer Marc Grégoire, whose wife challenged him to create a non-stick pan using the Teflon polymer she’d seen him use to coat his beloved fishing gear. He concurred and he succeeded, creating the Tefal brand in 1956. Other brands followed suit and soon non-stick pans were a household staple.



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Touted as a super-speedy and super-healthy way of preparing food, pressure cookers work by sealing in heat and cooking ingredients using the resulting steam. It’s no surprise then, that their popularity burgeoned through the Swinging Sixties, when second-wave feminism had taken hold and women were spending increasingly less time in the kitchen. This retro ad hails the MIRRO-MATIC pressure cooker as the “perfect answer to problems of speed and important savings”.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Another time-saving hero, this multi-tasking domestic gadget was invented as we know it in the 1970s, and became a quick hit. For the first time, arduous and time-consuming tasks like chopping, grating and slicing could all be done by one compact machine – and fast. The sleek Cuisinart model was an early success, along with other offerings from savvy brands like Braun, turning the food processor into a kitchen must-have.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Brits and Americans in the Eighties were becoming increasingly health conscious and limp lettuce simply would not do. Credit for the invention of the salad spinner is typically given to French inventors Jean Mantelet and Gilberte Fouineteau, who pioneered versions of the device in the 1970s. By the Eighties, the salad spinner was a countertop staple.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


From heavyweight superstar to grill-master, George Foreman launched his Lean Mean Grilling Machine in the mid-1990s. The countertop grill was sleek and easy-to-use, and the promise that it ousted fat tapped into the psyche of the health-conscious Nineties cook. Foreman’s slogan – “it’s so good I put my name on it” – became as famous as the cult product itself, too. He’s pictured here promoting the product at Macy’s in 1998.



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In the early 1990s, an appetite for barista-quality home brews was growing and one man took it upon himself to make it possible. John Sylvan, co-founder of Keurig, introduced the first “K-Cup” coffee pods and brewing systems in the late Nineties, and American coffee-lovers haven’t looked back since. Across the pond, the popularity of Nespresso coffee-capsule machines, patented back in the 1970s, was burgeoning too.



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Juice cleanses have been popular since the 1970s, but they came back with a vengeance in the early Noughties, and have stuck around ever since. Old manual squeezers just couldn’t cut it and a whole range of high-powdered juicers and smoothie makers hit the shelves. The Magic Bullet was a frontrunner.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article



Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


Spiralisers became all the rage in the early 2010s as health-conscious cooks ditched pasta in favour of courgetti noodles and vegetable ribbons. For many, this gadget is now gathering dust in the back of a cupboard, but there’s still a large online community of food bloggers dedicated to creating spiralised recipes.



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Microsoft may earn an Affiliate Commission if you purchase something through recommended links in this article


29/29 SLIDES

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