Kitchen History

20th Century Introduction

In 1896 at the end of the 19th century, Fannie Merritt Farmer published the Boston Cooking School Cookbook (over 800 pages) that began a kitchen revolution for homemakers.  The book contained many tested recipes for the cook and more importantly itemized the ingredients and detailed the steps required to cook the recipe.  The idea of presenting tested cooking preparations was revolutionary for cookbooks of the time.

The industrial revolution of the late 19th century spurred new inventions, cheaper prices, and new ways of thinking of economic and ergonomic efficiency. Gas became the preferred source of heat and allowed ovens to become smaller and lighter compared to coal, wood or oil fuel. The kitchen of the late 1800’s featured very little storage, as cabinets weren’t in production for the home. In 1899 the Hoosier Manufacturing Company was formed and they introduced a freestanding kitchen storage piece, known as the Hoosier cabinet. It incorporated space saving features like upper and lower cabinetry, in-cabinet storage spaces for things like flour and sugar, and often featured a pullout work surface. Although the Hoosier cabinet wasn’t large, it filled the storage void for the homemaker and made working in the kitchen that much more efficient.  Standard Plumbing Fixtures brought an awareness of sanitation into the American kitchen with a focus upon the sanitary white color. Refrigerators began making an appearance in some American kitchens. The turn of the 20th century saw a greater interest in saving time in factory production, and this interest eventually flowed into kitchen design as well.

1930-1940s

O.B. Lank opened an appliance business during the great recession.  Refrigerators and kitchen ranges were going into American kitchens where households were able to afford these remarkable appliances.  A German efficiency expert constructed the Frankfurt kitchen in 1926 that focused upon keeping the necessary kitchen items within arm’s reach.  The idea of laying out the kitchen to make it more ergonomic and efficient gave way to the “golden triangle,” that is the distance from refrigerator to sink to range not exceeding some magical value.  Woman also had a large voice in the household decisions, especially the kitchen.

The idea of the “fitted kitchen,” wherein appliances were becoming more integrated within cabinetry, was an important transformation for the kitchen in the 1930s and 1940s. Fitted cabinetry and appliances helped create a more purposeful and beautiful interior design, and the workflow within the space became easier to use. The invention of labor-saving devices, time-saving tools, with better kitchen designs and more stylish, matching options made the kitchen a source of pride. Many of these advancements were a bi-product of war efforts and technology. Women, having a taste of working outside the home during WWII, returned after the war and desired better design in their kitchen. [2015 Anne Reagan]

1950s

The manufacturing advancements and housing boom of post-World War II made a huge impact on the kitchen of today. There was an increased demand for kitchen technology and equipment. Innovations in quiet ventilation hoods, shiny ovens with matching refrigerators, dishwashers and designed countertops inspired homeowners to tear down the walls that once hid the utilitarian kitchen. The kitchen was becoming quieter, cleaner, better organized and easier to work in. In essence, the kitchen was becoming a source of pride, and slowly becoming a place worthy of entertaining. [2015 Anne Reagan]  It was during the 1950s that Ed Lank began selling kitchen cabinets from his father’s appliance store.  In 1957, Ed Lank appeared on the cover of a national trade journal for his design work.

1960s

In the 1960s and 1970s other societal changes were taking place that impacted the style of the kitchen. A renewed interest in home cooking, fetishizing kitchen utensils and entertaining meant that life was happening, once again, in the kitchen. The kitchen became a source for honing culinary crafts, displaying designer cookware and served as the hub for social activity. By the 1980s, the idea of a completely open kitchen, with appliances designed to show off, came into being. The trophy kitchen was born.  [2015 Anne Reagan]  In 1964, Ed Lank opened a dedicated kitchen remodeling business at 313 Market Street in Lemoyne, PA.

Julia Child’s real kitchen stands both in contrast to and in harmony with the sleek and modern ideal promoted for American suburban dwellers of the 1950s and ’60s. With her husband Paul, Julia Child designed and set up this kitchen in 1961. As a serious cook, author, and teacher, Julia had strong opinions about how her kitchen should be arranged. Its homey atmosphere, with simple, painted cabinetry and butcher-block countertops contrasts with the shiny surfaces pictured in kitchen brochures of the time. Yet her embrace of new appliances was very much in keeping with ideas of a “new and improved” kitchen. [2018 Smithsonian, Note:  Julia’s kitchen is on display at the Smithsonian]

1970s

The microwave was introduced to the home market, but took off in the 1980s moving into almost every American home by the end of the 1980s.  The concept that the kitchen can be part of an open floor plan was being tested, but kitchen odors flowed throughout the house. The creation of the exhaust blower over the range allowed homes to change the look and feel of the kitchen by the end of the decade.  In 1979, Roland Stock began his employment with Ed Lank as a kitchen designer.   

 

1980s

The Ed Lank kitchen legacy was being formed and Lank remodeled his building at 313 Street and doubled the showroom in 1986.  Ed lank featured the Wood-Mode cabinet line which was now entirely wood, having transitioned out of the metal cabinets. Frameless European style cabinetry was introduced by Wood-Mode in 1984 revolutionizing the American market.  Open air kitchen/dining/living space started to become popular. The whole idea of cooking was changing with the advent of popular cooking shows such as the “Galloping Gourmet” or “Frugal Gourmet with Jeff Smith”

1990s

Recognition was being given to the kitchen space being the most important room in the home. The Ed Lank distinction for showroom quality kitchens in the home was demonstrated with pro-style appliances, Corian counter surfaces and then natural stone counter tops, and first class Wood-Mode cabinets. In 1992 Ed Lank retired from his kitchen business and Roland Stock became the new owner having been mentored by Ed Lank since joining the firm of Ed Lank Kitchens Inc. in 1979.  

2000-2020

Owner Roland Stock (died 2016) sold Ed Lank Kitchens in 2008 to Mike Ruddle who continued the business until he closed the doors in September 2018 while Robert and Amanda were having their kitchen and bath installation completed.  January 2019 brought new ownership and the new name of Manor House Studio to a longtime Lemoyne, PA business.  The new owners had 2 kitchens designed by Ed Lank Kitchens and it was the staff and the Wood-Mode cabinets that inspired Robert and Amanda Hasemeier to carry on the Wood-Mode dealership in the Ed Lank building at 313 Market Street in Lemoyne.  

The doors to the old business at 313 Market Street were reopened for business in 2019 with the great experienced staff from Ed Lank Kitchens.  Manor House Studio is the authorized Wood-Mode and Brookhaven cabinet dealer in south central Pennsylvania serving the greater Harrisburg area and the counties of Dauphin, Perry, Cumberland, York, Lancaster, Adams and Franklin.