Are you ready for a lesson so great that it will go down in the history of countertop courses? We hope so, because that is our goal in teaching you about the history of countertops this week! They were not always the stunning pieces used to decorate your home. Learn about their journey into the luxurious surfaces we see today.
Long before the kitchen appliances at our convenience today existed, people used to cook over a fireplace/open flame. The fieldstone hearth was the very first surface used as a “countertop” for cooking. Once countertops started evolving towards what is seen today, they were made from stone and wood. This helped cooks move away from the fireplace and into a dedicated kitchen area.
Countertops advanced throughout the 1800’s. Northeast quarries were plentiful in both soapstone and slate. For this reason, people began to enlist them as kitchen surfaces. Little did they know, at the time, how beautiful they would look in modern day kitchens and bathrooms. As you may have gathered from other history lessons on countries like Rome and Greece, for instance, marble was a very popular material. Its countertop appeal came mainly from its ability to remain cool. pastry chefs preferred the cool surface to roll dough out on.
It was not until the 19th century that countertops really began to gain the emphasis that they have today. Granite was thrown into the mix of popular material choices and homeowners began to aim for beauty in their countertops, not just functionality. Early on, the beautiful and luxurious materials were primarily only used in pantries or in serving areas, not in the kitchen itself. It is no surprise that people craved more and they soon were used throughout the entire kitchen.
Shortly following World War II, laminate exploded in popularity. It gave homeowners the option to have kitchens in every color of the rainbow. At the time, other materials did not offer the same color variety. However, solid surface, introduced in the 1960’s, was a game changer. This man-made material also provided a myriad of bright and vibrant color options. Solid surface is also much more durable than laminate, allowing it to withstand wear and tear significantly better. Although laminate is still commonly used today, solid surface is a very popular countertop material with extraordinary hygienic properties, in addition to its durability and appeal.
Today, the countertop material options are virtually limitless. Glass, metal. concrete, and even pressed paper can all be seen in homes today. When it comes to beauty and quality, some materials have lasted the test of time. This includes granite, marble, and soapstone. These materials held their popularity throughout history.