The Most Useful Appliances of the Last 100 Years

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Garbage disposal

John W. Hammes, who was an architect, created the first garbage disposal in 1927, after working on it in his basement for about a decade. He was looking for a way to make cleaning the kitchen easier for his wife. The appliance used a centrifugal force to grind food that could then easily flush down the drain.

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Electric toaster

The electric toaster simply made bread taste better (even though people have been toasting bread since Roman times). The first electric toaster was invented by Alan MacMaster in 1893 but the first commercially successful one was patented in 1909.

Frank Shailor of General Electric created a very basic appliance that had one heating element and nothing else, not even sensors. You had to decide when to turn the slice of bread if you wanted it toasted on both sides.

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Automatic pop-up toaster

Breakfast would not be the same without it, and every kitchen has one. A decade after the huge success of the electric toaster came a safer version of it. In 1919, Charles Strite invented a toaster with a mechanism used to time how long each side was being toasted. It shut off automatically when the bread was toasted. This kind of pop-up toaster became widely available for sale in 1926.

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Automatic coffee pot

Depending on who you ask, making coffee is an art or an exact science. In any case, making  the perfect pot is not easy. But it was made just a little bit easier in 1952 when a coffee maker with a keep warm function was invented.

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Slow cooker

Cooking is much easier, and for some people even more pleasant, when you can simply put the ingredients in a pot and let them cook by themselves.

While the Crock Pot has been very popular over the last few years, its origin goes back to 1936 when Irving Naxon, an inventor, invented a portable cooking device that evenly heated and cooked food. He got the idea from his grandmother, who liked to cook at night at a bakery using the fading heat, which would result in a dish being cooked all night.