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Cooking with Lightning: Helen Louise Johnson's Electric Oven Revolution


Episode description

An early 20th century advertisement for an electrical range from the Toronto Electric Light Company

Discover the untold history of electricity in the kitchen. Although the earliest electrical ovens were cooking banquets by 1892, the average North American consumer was slow to adopt this electrifying new technology. With only a tiny percentage of homes wired by 1900, electricity in the kitchen had a long road to go before the countless toasters, coffee makers, blenders, and food processors of today's modern kitchen. Learn how one early domestic scientist, Miss Helen Louise Johnson, became the Rachel Ray of electrical cooking in the late 19th and early 20th century. Whether cooking steaks at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893 or baking bread on stage in Brooklyn in 1900, Helen Louise Johnson showed a culinary future powered by current. This week we're exploring a world of wires beyond Edison and Tesla, learning about the unsung electrifying women who changed the future of kitchen technology. 

Written & Produced by Laura Carlson

Technical Direction by Mike Portt

Music featured:

Find out more about the history of electrical cooking by visiting our show notes, including great pictures of the earliest electrical ovens (adapted train heaters!) to long-lost General Electric commercials featuring Betty Davis! 

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