They say that only the brave would venture to add an iconic AGA cooker to their kitchen. Rumour has it that they are difficult to manage and to control but ask any aficionado who has taken the plunge and they will tell you just how wonderful an AGA cookers is to own and to enjoy.
Many seem coloured by a childhood experience that saw an AGA as the furnace of family love in the corner of a Grandmother’s or Great Aunt’s kitchen. Its this impetus, that in my experienced has caused many to own an AGA which is more than a cooker it’s also a heat source. Proof of a childhood physics lesson – of “heat storage” – that tell’s you a heavy cast iron framed oven will absorb heat from a continuously burning source – such as coal – with the resulting heat being used for cooking.
Invented in 1922 by the Nobel Prize–winning Swedish physicist Gustaf Dalén, who’d lost his sight as a result of a previous invention, was employed by the Swedish company, Aktiebolaget Gas Accumulator (“AGA”). Noting how exhausted his wife became from cooking he determined to develop a simpler and more reliable cooker.
1929 saw AGA cookers first arrive in the UK and they were manufactured in the UK under licence in the early 1930s. Since the 1940’s the cast-iron parts have been made at the Coalbrookdale (Shropshire, UK) foundry, where they are still today. The AGA factory is located on one of the original foundry sites established by Abraham Darby who first smelted iron ore with coke in 1709, a location which is at the heart of England’s Industrial Revolution.
AGA’s have a history of long service with many units being in family homes for over fifty years.The majority of AGA’s sold today are electrically operated.
Advertising campaigns devised in the 1960’s by the legendary advertising guru, David Ogilvy, stressing the design and heritage elements of the AGA cooker introduced the AGA to a wider audience particularly in the US – where it continues to be a favourite.
Whilst many newer AGA cookers are now programmable some doubt has been shed on the inefficiency of the AGA cooker’s system. However, the AGA’s continued popularity with the owners of larger houses, often located in the country, has created a fiercely loyal following – making AGA a great example of a lifestyle product. Many owners claim that the AGA replaces in the kitchen the need for any addition heating system, where its use for drying clothes, wellingtons, – see our previous post for the iconic Hunters wellingtons – Hunter Green Wellington Boots – warming towels and, generally, keeping a busy family kitchen warm.