Humankind has been preparing food in countless ways for many thousands of years, but perhaps the most important innovation was deciding to cook food in the first place. Open flames worked for a time, but as humans became civilized, so did their cooking. The Chinese and Japanese had closed stoves from the second and third centuries B.C.E. respectively-long before the rest of the world. By the fifteenth century, Europe had moved toward a modern stove, but the whole world relied on wood, charcoal, coal, or oil to fuel their cooking until the ninteenth century.
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Zachaus Winzler (1750-c. 1830) in 1802.
Gas cooking was introduced by Zachaus Winzler (1750-c. 1830) in 1802. Winzler, a Moravian chemical manufacturer living in Austria, began hosting dinner parties where the food was cooked using a small gas cooker complete with four burners and an oven. However, gas stoves did not appear in other kitchens for another thirty years.
One kitchen got a gas stove in 1826, years before they were commercially available. James Sharp, a manager with England’s Northampton Gas Company, used his home kitchen as a testing facility and installed a gas cooker of his own design.
Gas cooking eventually caught on, and by 1834 Sharp, with the financial help of Earl Spencer, started producing cookers for sale. Business was sluggish until the 1850s when gas pipelines brought the fuel within the average household’s reach. By the 1880s, gas cooking had become all the rage. Since then, stoves have gone electric and microwave, but at dinner parties all over the world, you will still find gas stoves helping hosts serve hungry guests.
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