Stove (cooker)

AGA Rangemaster Ltd.

AGA cooker (1929), Gustaf Dalén

Founded in 1929 in Smethwick, AGA Heat Ltd. was the first manufacturer of the famous AGA stove. Instrumental in the success of the company was Gustaf Dalén, who also invented the solar valve for lighthouses (for the Swedish AGA gas company), which earned him the Nobel prize in physics.

Gustaf Dalén was blinded by an acetylene explosion in 1912 – the same year he won the Nobel Prize. Forced to stay at home in Sweden, he noticed that his wife was being drained by the demands of taking care of her blind husband and running a household at the same time. In 1922 Dalén designed an all-in-one cooker/water heater and laundry dryer to help her out. In 1929 the first solid-fuel AGA cooker featuring a black top with white front panels was introduced In Britain under license from AGA.

The secret to the AGA cooker’s success is its heavy iron castings, which absorb and retain heat. Food is cooked by radiant heat, and not by heated air as in most ovens. As a result, the food retains more moisture and flavour. The AGA is also praised for its longevity: many cookers are still operating after more than 50 years.

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© AGA Rangemaster Ltd., Warwickshire, UK

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