Early kitchens

The kitchen is a doing place in a house. Things get done there. There is the planning of meals, preparing food, cooking, cleaning, and storing of kitchen pots pans, kitchen gadgets, books, as well as storage of plates glasses cutlers and dry foods, canned goods and bulk goods – and more! All this activity and business centres around food preparation at the stove the sink and the refrigerator. In fact nearly a centaury ago there was scientific enquiry into the flow pattern uniting the work centres in a modern kitchen.

The study suggested the most efficient use of space occurred where an equilateral triangular link was created between the sink, stove and fridge; the three work centres. Efficiency was measured in the least number of steps between the three points of the triangle. It was a revolutionary idea to study movement. The itemization and breaking down of the process in a step by step fashion as in industrial factory. It was the first time that manufacturing was seen as a measurable process of unrelated steps. Edward Mybridge had begun an enquiry into motion studies using people and animals to show how movement occurred. Mybridges’s photos of galloping horses dating about 1880 are well know to artist at the turn of the century. The same enquiry directed toward the industrial kitchen helped to make the kitchen a more pleasant place to work.

Early kitchens centred around a food preparation area and a cooking area. Commonly there was a large central table that served a multipurpose work area. Today we name the different kitchens layout as a galley kitchen where a central passage separates two opposing work areas. A railway car will have a galley kitchen as will a boat. Some high rise Ottawa condos of the 1970 often featured the galley kitchen. There is the “U” shaped kitchen where a skink is positioned in the base of the U and the stove and refrigerator are located opposite each other in the arms of the U.