June 20

When Were Ovens Invented? | All the Facts You May Be Interested In!


Author: Colin Ma
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When were ovens invented? Ovens have been around since ancient times, but they were not always as convenient as they are today. The first ovens were nothing more than a hole in the ground lined with stones. They would build a fire inside and place the food on stones.

The first oven that resembled what we have in modern kitchens first appeared in Greece around 500 BC. These earthenware brick ovens had no chimneys, so all of the smoke escaped through cracks at the structure's top.

The food cooked slowly over several hours and required constant attention from the cooks to ensure that it did not burn or overcook.

The Romans took this idea one step further by using metal doors on their brick ovens instead of wood ones. It allowed them to control airflow more efficiently and create more consistent temperatures inside their kitchens.

Little girl pulls tray from oven

So, When Were Ovens Invented?

Early humans invented Ovens to cook food. The earliest ovens were made of clay or animal skins stretched over a fire pit. Early civilizations used these simple clay ovens to bake bread, roast meat, and make other baked goods.

The Invention of Ovens

During medieval times in Europe, there was no standard way to bake bread in an oven; each baker had its technique. In some places, it was baked directly on the oven's floor, while in others, it was baked on a raised shelf inside the oven itself.

The earliest ovens were made by building a fire in a cave or under a rock. They would use the cave ovens for cooking bread and meat without exposing it to the air. This method was used until about 4,000 BC, when metal was discovered, and people could make pots that would hold heat better than rocks or clay vessels.

These early ovens were simple metal pots with handles placed over wood fires or coals until they reached an ideal temperature for baking bread or roasting meat. These pots could also be used as a cauldron for boiling water and making other foods such as soups and stews.

By 2000 BC, there was widespread use of flat-bottom clay ovens throughout the Middle East that could quickly heat over wood fires or coal beds until temperatures of up to 900 degrees F were reached, allowing bread and cakes to be baked in them.


The Romans and Greeks used the first known ovens. They cooked their food over an open fire or in a pit filled with hot coals. The Romans had brick or clay ovens, while the Greeks used clay pots placed over coals. Both cultures used these methods to bake bread and other foods.

They also used them as heating sources during winter months when it would get cold outside due to the lack of central heating systems at this time!

Pot over clay oven

The 1700s

People began to use metal pots and pans for cooking and baking in the middle ages. The first ones were made of copper or iron, but by the 1700s, cast iron pans were standard because they could withstand high temperatures without melting or warping as quickly as other metals.

Old cast iron pans

The 1800s

In 1875, gas stoves became popular in Europe because they allowed bakers to control the temperature inside their ovens more accurately than wood-burning stoves could offer. It allowed them to make more delicate cakes and pastries without burning them too quickly on the outside or leaving uncooked dough on the inside of their baked goods.

All the above methods were effective, but they were slow and could not be timed. The food would quickly burn while some would be overcooked, which spoiled the taste of the food and pastries.

In addition to being slow and inefficient, cooking over open flames was dangerous because it could result in fires. To address this problem, people invented ovens that could be used to cook food without worrying about an open flame burning down their houses. It led to the invention of electric ovens in the 1900s.

Close up of a gas stove

The Electric Oven: Who Invented the Oven?

The invention of the oven is credited to several different people. The first known ovens were developed by early humans, who discovered that fire could be used to cook food. Later, humans learned how to create fire by rubbing two sticks together or striking stones against flint, making it possible to cook food without relying on nature.

Others claim that the ancient Egyptians invented the ovens. The Egyptians were known to have used bread ovens as early as 1250 BC. The earliest known oven was discovered in the tomb of King Ramses V (reigned c. 1186–1155 BC). It had been built into the wall of his burial chamber and was used for baking bread for him in the afterlife.

Open black oven

However, later the electric oven, which is now the most know too many people, is said to have been invented by Thomas Ahearn. In the 1800s, Thomas Ahearn invented what is now known as the modern oven.

He was born in Ireland and moved to New York City when he was still a teenager. He designed several other things, including the toaster oven, but he is best known for inventing the first oven with a thermostat. The use of electric ovens became widely used in the 1920s despite being invented in 1983.

Did They Have Ovens in the 1800s?

Yes, ovens were used in the 1800s to cook a variety of food. Some ovens were used in homes, while others were used in restaurants and hotels. Some large houses had built-in brick or stone ovens used for baking bread and roasting meat on Sundays or special occasions.

When Did Ovens Become Popular?

Ovens have been around for thousands of years, but it wasn't until the 1800s that they became prevalent. Some historians believe that the ancient Egyptians created the first oven more than 4,000 years ago. The Egyptians used earthenware pots to bake cakes and bread in their homes and temples. 

However, after the introduction of the gas and electric range ovens in the late 1880s and early 1900, the ovens became even more popular as they could be used safely in the houses.

What Were the First Ovens Used For?

Ovens have been around for thousands of years. The first ovens were used for cooking, baking, and keeping food warm. Today, ovens are used for various tasks, including drying, smoking, roasting, and broiling.

How Have Ovens Changed Over Time?

Ovens have changed significantly over time, from the original brick ovens used by our ancestors to the electric and gas-powered ovens we see today. Here are some of the most significant changes that have taken place:

Brick Ovens

The earliest ovens were made from bricks or stone and lined with clay (or sometimes animal dung). These ovens were very hot and could reach temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees Celsius), enough to bake bread or roast meat. However, they were not very efficient because they needed constant attention from cooks who had to stoke the fire regularly.

Brick Ovens

Wood-Fired Ovens

By the 16th century, people started using wood as fuel instead of coal or charcoal because it didn't give off smoke as these other fuels did. Wood-fired ovens also allowed for a wider variety of foods to be cooked because you did not need to stoke your fire constantly.

Sootless Kerosene Oven

Since they were invented in 1891, this oven was a portable version that used kerosene for fuel and produced no smoke or soot. It was also very efficient at cooking food.

Camping Stoves

Invented in the 1920s, these were portable versions of wood-burning iron stove used for camping and other outdoor activities. Propane stoves later replaced them in the 1960s due to their increased efficiency and less bulky nature.

Man cooking on a camping stoves in nature

Gas Ovens

Gas ovens replaced wood-fired ovens in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Most semi-successful gas ovens can be traced back as far as the Roman Empire.

Electric Ovens

These are the modern ovens invented in 1936 but not widely used until after World War II due to their high cost compared to gas ones. They became popular once they became more affordable and quieter than gas ones.

Woman taking out food out of the oven

Types Of Electric Ovens Available Today

Today, there are many different types of ovens available. Here are some of the most common:

Standalone Ovens

Standalone ovens are large equipment suitable for any kitchen or restaurant setting which often come in a form of a double oven. They're usually found in restaurants and other commercial kitchens, where they're often used for cooking large batches of food at once.

Kitchen with an oven

Built-in Ovens

Built-in ovens are installed directly into cabinetry or countertops, so they don't take up valuable floor space in your kitchen. Wall ovens can also be installed flush against walls or backsplashes to save more space.

Modern kitchen with built in oven

Conventional Ovens

A conventional oven uses gas or electricity to heat the air inside the oven cavity. A heating element circulates the air inside called an "electronic controller." 

The electronic controller turns on and off according to your instructions. It allows you to set your desired temperature and cook time, so precision baking, roasting, and broiling of foods are easy.
Conventional Oven

Conductive Electric Ovens

Conductive electric ovens don't have glass doors or interior lights — they have a single heating element that glows red when it's on. Conductive electric ovens are used for baking cakes, cookies, and other foods requiring uniform heat distribution throughout their surface.

Microwave Ovens

Commercial microwave oven work by creating electromagnetic waves which cause the molecules inside food to vibrate at very high speeds, producing heat through friction.

Food cooked in a microwave will never look brown or crisp like it would when cooked in an ordinary oven because microwaves don't heat from the outside but rather from within — so no caramelization or Maillard reaction is happening inside as your food cooks (which creates flavor).

Microwave with frozen vegetables and open door

As you can see, inventing the oven did not happen overnight. From the ancient ones used as early as 500 BC to the present electric ones invented in the 1900s, the evolution has been progressive. The procedure is still ongoing. We see new models with incredible features that make our kitchen work easier.

About the author

Colin Ma

An avid home chef, Colin is equally passionate about delicious meals as well as the latest cooking appliances. He's also a keen writer about cooking-related topics.


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