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The History of Kitchen Cabinets and RTA Cabinets

The History of Kitchen Cabinets and RTA Cabinets Modern kitchen cabinets are not as old as one might think. Even though humankind has been storing and cooking food for thousands of years, it is only within the last couple of centuries that the kitchen cabinets we know and love have evolved. The following timeline highlights important dates in the history of kitchen cabinets and RTA cabinets:

• Prehistory - Root cellars, pickling, salting, drying and ice houses were the primary methods for preserving and storing food. Many food items were purchased fresh, daily. With the exception of a few shelves in the cellar and possibly a table in the kitchen, there were no kitchen cabinets as we know them today. It stayed this way for thousands of years.

• 1200 - 1700 - Kitchen cabinetry was limited to cupboards or dry storage shelves and was placed in a separate room, like the butler's pantry or servant's quarters. Everything was custom-made by either the homeowner or a cabinetmaker, and only the wealthy could afford cabinetmakers.

• 1790 - It was during the Industrial Revolution that kitchen cabinets were mass-produced for the first time and could be ordered, pre-assembled, from a catalog. As more people migrated from farms to urban centers, demand for affordable kitchen cabinetry was met by the factories, and custom cabinetmakers became obsolete.

• 1896 - Catharine Beecher published a book on optimizing the kitchen layout. This is the first instance of ergonomics being applied to the kitchen. Lack of industry standardization, like countertop height, meant most kitchens were a hodgepodge of shelves and cabinets that served a purpose but were not easy to place in a logical arrangement.

• 1900 - The Hoosier Cabinet was invented and is the first example of a modern kitchen cabinet. The cabinet had storage shelves on top and at the base with a countertop at waist height. It was an all-in-one kitchen workspace.

•1920 - Factory efficiency practices of the Industrial Revolution inspired Christine Frederick to pick up where Catharine Beecher left off. Frederick was an advocate for standardizing countertop height and for placing all of the kitchen cabinets in the kitchen, rather than in a butler's pantry or servant's quarters.

• 1920 - Lillian Moller Gilbreth performed ergonomic studies and focused on arranging appliances and kitchen cabinets in a manner that reduced fatigue and needless steps.

• 1925 - Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, an Austrian architect, debuted the Frankfurt Kitchen. This is the first kitchen to use modular kitchen cabinets that filled every corner of the available space. The design was compact and organized, so there were no wasted movements. This design gave birth to kitchens and kitchen cabinets as we know them today.

• 1956 - Ready to assemble kitchen cabinets were invented by Gillis Lundgren, an employee of IKEA. Ready to assemble cabinets, also called RTA cabinets or flat-box cabinets, ship disassembled but can easily be put together by the homeowner or a cabinet installer. Since they ship disassembled, purchase and shipping costs are greatly reduced. >> Learn more about RTA Kitchen Cabinets.

• 1990 - 2000 - Solid wood and plywood returned to the forefront of kitchen cabinetry. Prior to this, particle board, MDF and laminates were used. They were not as durable as solid wood or plywood and could release toxic gas into the kitchen because of the glue used to construct the cabinet panels.

Today, RTA kitchen cabinets, like those offered by TheRTAStore.com, are the best option on the market. They are affordable, easy to assemble and install and are constructed of top-quality materials. TheRTAStore.com only offers cabinets made from solid hardwood and plywood, not particle board. Also, the cabinets are compliant with California CARB 2 laws that regulate formaldehyde emissions, which means they will not release poisonous gas into the kitchen. This is a huge leap forward from the root cellars, Hoosier Cabinets and particle board cabinets of old.

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