Most modern kitchens come with sleek induction cooktops, complete with a stylish induction cookware set designed to evenly distribute heat in a swift and energy-efficient manner. However, it took a lot of trial and error for us to reach this level of beauty and precision in our kitchens. The five appliances below offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, showing just how far we’ve come.
1. The Waring Blendor
Though it sounds more like the name of a Game of Thrones character, the Waring Blendor was one of the earliest iterations of today’s ubiquitous high-speed blenders. The Blendor (not a typo) hit the market in 1937, and it soon inspired a procession of other similar machines. Whenever you whip up a healthy smoothie or soup in your modern blender, remember that you’re taking part in a tradition that’s almost a century old!
2. Egg slicers and tomato dicers
There was a time when kitchen gadgets reigned supreme. Late-night infomercials would have people buying separate gadgets for dicing tomatoes, slicing eggs, coring apples, and “ricing” potatoes. It seemed a simple knife just wouldn’t cut it. You needed a gadget to poach eggs, a different one to fry them, and yet another if you wanted them scrambled or hard-boiled.
Though you can still find a multitude of ultra-specific kitchen tools on the market, this trend has mostly died off thanks to the rise of multi-purpose equipment and versatile ceramic cookware.
3. Electric can openers and spaghetti twirlers
There was a time when humanity went a little overboard with the conversion of hand-powered tools to electric wonders. This is nowhere better demonstrated than in the kitchen. While blenders and refrigerators are undeniably useful, some things – like forks and can openers – really don’t need to be powered up. Which marketing genius thought the biggest problem people were facing in the kitchen was the difficulty of twirling spaghetti on their forks?
4. Fairy floss machines and hot dog makers
You know those treats you get to enjoy a few times a year at football games and county fairs? Well, in the 90s, kitchen appliance manufacturers decided it would be marvelous if we could make these goodies in our homes and enjoy them on a daily basis.
Apart from the obvious health implications of daily hot dogs and fairy floss, this is the fastest way to ruin the joy of the treats. The magic is lost when you can make them whenever you want at home. In the end, most people decided it was better to cut down on kitchen clutter by ditching these appliances and saving hot dogs and fairy floss for special events.
5. Chocolate fountains and fondue sets
Some people still love hosting fondue parties, complete with a chocolate fountain dessert. However, for the most part, these kitschy appliances are little more than relics of the 70s. The main issue is that they’re fiddly and messy, with many moving parts and a sticky mess to contend with when guests go home. Then, of course, there are the hygiene concerns of having everyone dipping into the one source of chocolate or cheese all night.
Though some of the inventions described above may have been failures, they still beautifully demonstrate the curious and creative nature of the human mind. There’s no denying that we get a lot of things wrong. Indeed, many of our inventions – like toxic nonstick coatings – have proven to be dangerous mistakes. However, there’s always hope that we can correct course and focus our inexhaustible inventiveness on more productive endeavors.