While kitchen styles have changed from year to year, wood has always been a top choice for kitchen countertops. Wood kitchen countertop history dates back to the early 1900’s when all things house-related were taken over by an exciting wave of modernization.
The earliest countertop materials were stone and wood. Those who cooked over a fireplace or open flame used the fieldstone hearth as their countertop. Wood wasn’t far behind in the timeline of countertops, and was used just as early as the stone hearth. As cooks began to move away from the fireplace and into a dedicated kitchen, the earliest countertops were still made of stone and wood, the most available products.
Things changed when the 19th century rolled around, like countertops made of lush materials, such as marble, fine woods and occasional metals. These were often found in the most upscale kitchen pantries or serving areas. In the kitchen itself remained the domain of wood.
Wood countertops have had a long presence in kitchens and pantries in the form of work tops or wood tables. Pine, maple, and oak were top choices for worktops at the turn of the 20th century.
Wood Kitchen Countertop History
This 1920’s L-shaped kitchen features a wood countertop, white cabinetry and beaded board panel backsplash. While this kitchen has countertops at the same height, countertop heights were far from standardized and there would be multiple heights in the same kitchen often.
Many of the features that are standard to modern kitchens today were created during the 1950’s, like having a wood cutting board in close proximity to the sink and food prep area.
In the 1960’s and 1970’s societal changes were taking place that impacted kitchen styles. The kitchen became a source for honing culinary crafts, displaying designer cookware and served as the hub for social activity. Wood countertops top of the lower cabinets and the kitchen table.
The first kitchen islands were introduced in the 1970’s. Pictured above is a Dutch country style kitchen with a butcher block island, checkerboard wall paper, delft backsplash tile and yellow cabinets.
The idea of a completely open kitchen with appliances designed to show off came into being in the 1980’s. This kitchen features a large kitchen island with a wood counter and a stove with a cooktop created for display in addition to function.
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