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The Most Popular Kitchen Gadget from Every Decade

We're living in the age of Instant Pots, but have you ever wondered which appliances were popular back in the day?

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cup of coffee with metal coffee percolator on wooden backgroundittipon/Shutterstock

1890: Coffee Percolators

The first coffee percolator was patented in 1889, and it was a game changer for coffee-drinkers. Prior to this invention, coffee was made by simply boiling water and coffee ground together. The percolator was the first device yielding coffee that didn’t have to be filtered. Check out the unusual secret ingredient in Grandma’s coffee.

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Step to making pancake with antique farmhouse stovemonofaction/Shutterstock

1900: Stovetop Waffle Irons

Waffles have been a breakfast treat for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the late 1800s that the first waffle iron was created. These devices were made of cast iron and had a hinged lid, allowing people to bake waffles right on the stovetop.

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Woman with open refrigerator; Shutterstock ID 99385886Everett Collection/Shutterstock

1910: Refrigerators

The first refrigerator for home use was released in 1913, but it didn’t catch on until later in the decade. That’s when a company called Frigidaire (sound familiar?) started mass-producing refrigerators. The new appliances quickly became a staple in American households, and today, it’s hard to imagine life without one. Check out this Poppy Red refrigerator from the 1970s.

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Vintage Toaster with Toast; Shutterstock ID 10167958; Job (TFH, TOH, RD, BNB, CWM, CM): TOHRoJo Images/Shutterstock

1920: Toasters

The first toaster was invented in the 1890s, but it only heated one side of the bread at a time. In the 1920s, the pop-up toaster we know and love was introduced, and it’s become one of the most common household appliances.

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Red stand mixer mixing creamDmitry_Evs/Shutterstock

1930: Stand Mixers

Did you know that KitchenAid stand mixers have been around for 100 years? First introduced in 1919, these mixers were initially only used in professional settings, but by the late 1920s, consumer-friendly models were introduced, leading them to become a popular kitchen appliance. Don’t make these mistakes with your KitchenAid mixer, though.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock (6110845c) Marilyn Monroe This photo shows an Oster "Osterizer" chrome beehive blender together with original glass blender jar, square top and cover. used by actress Marilyn Monroe on display at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills, Calif. The blender is among the 300 items that are part of "Marilyn Monroe's Lost Archives" that go up for bid at Julien's Auctions in Beverly Hills on Dec. 5-6, 2014 Marilyn Monroe's Lost Archives, Beverly Hills, USAJae C Hong/AP/Shutterstock

1940: Blenders

The first blender was introduced in the 1930s, but it took several years for the inventors to iron out the gadget’s technical difficulties. The gadget finally became popular in the ’40s. It was even used for scientific applications, such as helping to create the polio vaccine!

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Everett/Shutterstock (10307179a) An automatic dishwasher was one of the first of the appliances to be made by Frigidaire. Dec. 1954. Historical CollectionEverett/Shutterstock

1950: Dishwashers

The idea for the dishwasher was first dreamed up in the mid-1800s. But for many decades, automatic dishwashers were considered a luxury appliance, only affordable by the wealthy. In the 1950s, the dishwasher finally became more widespread, allowing people to put down the sponges at last.

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Open tin of chopped tomatoes with whole fresh unfocused tomatoes behind. Wood surfaceMoving Moment/Shutterstock

1960: Electric Can Openers

Manual can openers hit the scene in the 1920s, and they’ve remained largely unchanged to this day. However, electric can openers, which do all the work for you, weren’t introduced until the ’60s, when electrical appliances became more affordable.

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preparing ahead of time makes hearty slow cooker meals are a favorite for fall and winter cookingsherwood/Shutterstock

1970: Crock-Pots

Sometimes it takes a while for new gadgets to catch on, and one great example is the slow cooker. The first model was brought to market in the 1950s, but it didn’t gain popularity until the ’70s when it was rebranded as the Crockpot we know and love to this day. Check out our favorite Crockpot meals.

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Using the microwave oven to heating food.

1980: Microwaves

Countertop microwaves were another appliance that was slow to catch on in the U.S. The first models were sold in the late 1960s, but it wasn’t until more than a decade later that they became a popular kitchen appliance. Why the delay? People were afraid that the appliances would give off harmful radiation.

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Loaf baked in bread machine on wooden tableAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

1990: Bread Makers

In the late 1990s, 1 in 5 American homes owned a bread maker—because who wouldn’t want an appliance that takes all the work out of making delicious homemade bread? This appliance experienced a boom during the ’90s thanks to a drop in price, and while they may not be as common today, they’re still a must-have for bread lovers.

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Close-up of woman inserting single-serve K-cup Foldger's coffee into a Keurig coffee maker.Rob Hainer/Shutterstock

2000: Single-Cup Coffee Brewers

Ever since their introduction in 2004, single-cup coffee makers like the Keurig have been a staple for many households. After all, they make coffee quickly, and you don’t have to brew a whole pot for just one cup.

Don’t forget to clean your Keurig regularly for best results.

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 Instant Pot pressure cooker on kitchen counter with beans and rice.Stephanie Frey/Shutterstock

2010: Instant Pots

Fast forward to today, when the Instant Pot reigns supreme. Introduced in 2010, this pressure cooker quickly gained popularity with the help of social media, and today, it has a community of more than 2 million fans on Facebook. Don’t forget to check out our collection of Instant Pot recipes!

Camryn Rabideau
Camryn is Taste of Home contributor who specializes in home décor, product reviews and general lifestyle content. She holds a degree in fashion merchandising from the University of Rhode Island and jumps at any opportunity to tap into her design expertise.