This Video Shows 500 Years of Kitchen Design in Less Than One Minute

updated Apr 6, 2020
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white modern kitchen with island

Kitchens have kept us fueled and nourished for as long as they have existed. But even though their purpose has stayed the same, their looks have transformed drastically throughout the centuries. A new video shows how much western kitchens have changed over the past 500 years, tracing their journey from 1520s England to modern America.

To make the video, HomeAdvisor consulted with historians Sara Pennell, senior lecturer in history at the University of Greenwich and author of The Birth of the English Kitchen, and Nancy Carlisle, senior curator of collections at Historic New England.

The video shows a glimpse of the kitchen in each century. The 1620 Tudor manor kitchen features a cauldron over a hearth — a world away from our InstantPots.

The 1720 late Stuart-era kitchen keeps the hearth and gains a “kitchen dresser,” a cabinet where you might show off your nicest ceramics. Over the hearth is a roasting jack for rotisserie cooking (and the HomeAdvisor post accompanying the video points out that occasionally a “turnspit dog” would have the job of turning the spit by running in something like a giant hamster wheel — you can read more about that wild history here).

By 1820, in colonial Williamsburg, the hearth now has an iron crane, used for “safely position[ing] pots such as a Dutch oven.”

In Victorian 1820, the hearth is replaced by a stove and cupboards appear on the wall in a kitchen that looks much more like ours today.

The 1920 kitchen introduces the refrigerator, gas stove, and linoleum floor. For those of us with older homes or apartments, it looks especially familiar.

The video’s 2020 kitchen, finally, is sleek and minimal — maybe even too minimal compared to the cozy versions that came before it. What do you think kitchens will look like in 2120?