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Thermostatically controlled oven

how cooking became a science London,

A freestanding gas cooker with its door open.
Radiation ‘New World’ H16 gas cooker, c. 1923. Science Museum/ Science & Society Picture Library.

In 1923 a thermostat-controlled flue oven designed for the Radiation ‘New World’ H16 marked the greatest single advance in the design of gas cookers since their introduction. 

Designed by the London company Radiation Ltd, the oven enabled people, as an advertisement stated, to ‘cook anything from a single dish to a full-course dinner without attention’. This was made possible by the ‘Regulo’ thermostat which allowed the oven temperature to be controlled precisely. 

Gas had been used for cooking since 1837, though it was slow to be widely adopted as people feared it might be poisonous or give food a bad taste. Cooker design changed little during the 19th century, and electric ovens only became common in the 1930s, which is why the ‘New World’ H16 marked a turning point. With the introduction of temperature-controlled ovens cooking could become the exact science that we recognise today.

Science Museum

Decade
Type
Engineering,
Region
London
Location
London
Key Individuals