Times have certainly changed. In the early days, the
main room of the house was the kitchen.
Entire homes were built around the kitchen, and in many
instances, the kitchen may have been the only room, serving
as a place for storage of the family's belongings, a
bedroom, and also the main living area.
While today's homes are filled with roomful after roomful
of possessions, prior to the eighteenth century it was
common for many to own little more than their kitchen
furnishings , kitchen equipment and bedding.
Before the advent of the kitchen range in the early
1800s, meals were prepared over open fires.
Fireplaces, used for both cooking and warming the home,
ranged in size from small to large enough for a person to
Early kitchens were not filled with bright and shiny
brand name products as they are today. The food,
furnishings and cooking equipment was simple and
utilitarian, though not without beauty.
Many of the items used in the kitchen were made locally
or at home.
Cooking forks, pot hooks, dippers, strainers, toasters,
trivets and many other items were made of wrought iron by
the local blacksmiths.
Coppersmiths and tinsmiths produced pots, pans, ladles
and kettles and other smaller tinware utensils. Many
of the cooking pots and pans were made of cast-iron.
Wooden items such as spoons, scoops, butter paddles,
dough bowls and bread troughs, kitchen chairs, rough
hewn tables, cupboards and bins were made by local craftsmen
or by the users themselves.
Before general stores, traveling salesmen and mail order,
self-sufficient pioneer household made their own brooms,
doormats and brushes.
Unlike today, where everything is branded by a
manufacturer name, these early furnishings and equipment
rarely carried the maker's name.