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Computerized Kitchen of the Future (1977)

We seem to have been waiting for the smart cupboard/fridge for quite a while now. Though the continued spread of RFID chips makes such an idea more plausible today, the future kitchen isn't yet quite what we imagined.

A January 3, 1977 piece in the Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg, Manitoba) predicted the smart cupboard, kitchen computers that automatically select menus and kitchen televisions for monitoring Junior in the next room. The piece appears in its entirety below.

TORONTO (CP) - The housewife of the future will be able to keep an eye on her sleeping baby by "dialing in" the nursery to get an instant picture of a kitchen television screen.

This is but one prediction Canadians can expect to come true as advances in kitchen conveniences are researched and developed, says Gordon I. Forsell, vice-president of marketing and sales for Inglis Ltd., appliance manufacturer.

"We visualize a day when a central panel or brain will allow the housewife to handle most tasks through a computerized source," said Mr. Forsell.

A kitchen computer will select menus and deliver frozen items directly from freezer to micro-wave oven. A gourmet meal may be thawed, cooked and ready-to-serve in minutres.

The computer's brain will store information such as a tally of supplies that are running short in the kitchen cupboard.

Mr. Forsell predicted that the same television screen the housewife watchers her baby on will deliver the day's news or a special college course at the push of a button.

Located centrally in the kitchen of tomorrow is the cooking area, he said. Smooth, unbroken cooking surfaces that wife clean with a cloth will be hidden beneath the kitchen counter ready to pull out and use when required.

He said a giant crisper located directly beside the sink area will keep greens fresh and well within reach. Its moisture will be automatically controlled.

Mr. Forsell said a special sink will be equipped with a food dispenser so that peels and rinds will disappear. "And paper, cans and other solid waste products will go into a trash compactor," he said.

"Also built into the kitchen of tomorrow is a year-round herb garden supported by ultra-violet light."

He said that no one will have to wash a dish, plate or pot.

"New dishwashers will add their own detergents, adjust heat automatically and handle every utensil efficiently," he said. "The dishwasher will be hidden below the counter and programmed to rise to counter top at the push of a button."

"Mr. Forsell said the kitchen of the future also will have a complete laundry centre. Programmed washers will automatically sort fabrics and colors including all the touch double-knits and delicate laces.


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Reader Comments (9)

They actually got a lot right on this one - frozen microwave meals, garbage disposals, and seamless cooktops. Some things they got half-right, like baby monitors (it takes too much attention to watch a screen; you might as well just be in the baby's room) and the multipurpose computer (but it's more comfortable to be sitting in the living room rather than standing in the kitchen). It's funny how they missed all the social changes, though - if a housewife's job is reduced to just pressing a few Jetson-like buttons, who needs a housewife? The lack of challenge (or even distraction) would be intolerable. If you can make a meal in 5 minutes, why bother to plan meals at all - just eat what you want on a whim. It's not like you need to thaw a turkey 18 hours in advance any more.

I like the "hidden" stove, dishwasher, and vegetable crisper, though. I can't tell you how embarrassed I am when guests see my unsightly appliances, right there in plain sight! What kind of good housekeeper keeps their refrigerator in the kitchen, after all?

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterazinyk

Didn't they have frozen dinners and garbage disposal in the '70s, too?

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBob

I can't see viewing a college course via a television screen, but I have YouTubed some pretty strange household-related lessons, such as "How to empty a Dyson vacuum" or "how to fold a fitted sheet."

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

"cooking surfaces that wife clean with a cloth "

I'm sure that was just a badly OCR'd "wipe".

Why a college course in the kitchen when you could do the Open University on BBC2 in the living room?

October 13, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex O'D

Once again, why is it the woman who is assumed to be the one who will use and benefit from a spiffier kitchen?

And is it just the bad reproduction or does that baby look nonplussed?

And seeing that this is from 1977 and it is being treated like some ancient relic of the distant past makes me feel like one. I remember 77 quite well, thank you. We even had flush toilets and space probes going to Jupiter back then.

October 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Jetson

what a clever Idea :D

November 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Couldn't actually see at least something clear on that picture ... but I'm against computerized kitchen or house, because people should be able to take care of themselves. We can start with computer fridges and countertops and after stop moving or getting out of apartment at all.

November 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercountertops

Well thats interesting i would say, would just be waiting for the day when this is gonna happen in reality. I wish i could have any. Wow then it would be a lot of fun.

kartÄ™ r4i

November 30, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHoly

Really its a Classic thing...

double oven electric range...

April 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterGlory

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