The history of the air fryer is a tale of intrigue and mystery.
Who invented it? When? Why? What were they thinking?
We’ve got you covered, with a short and sweet timeline of the air fryer’s development—plus some interesting facts about its inventor and his intentions.
Who invented the air fryer?
The inventor of the earliest air fryer was a man named William L. Maxson who came up with a device to reheat frozen food for American troops who were deployed.
There was a lot of trial-and-error but he soon realized that if he could use extreme heat with some kind of motor that helps pass that heated air all around the food, then it would be something that could change the world.
What’s the history of the air fryer?
In the early 1900s, the thoughts and ideas of an air fryer had already existed. It wasn’t until 1904 when there was actually a record shown of a magazine company publishing an article on a cooker that used electricity and air pressure.
Fast-forward to 1945, a man named William L. Maxson filed a patent for what we would recognize more like an electric oven. His discovery of this electric oven came about when he realized it could reheat food while keeping the same flavors as if it were fresh.
About a year later he improved upon the idea thanks to his work in the airline industry. He invented the first air fryer called the Maxon Whirlwind Oven. Which used a motor to circulate air.
Maxon spent several years supporting the military with his method of air frying frozen food. He’s later expanded this technology to the private sector which included Airlines like Pan Am which was able to utilize his frozen food techniques for their passengers during cross Atlantic flights.
Unfortunately, Maxon died a few years afterward leaving behind no further progress in air fryers. Instead, microwaves became the new fad and continued from then on.
With the sudden popularity of microwaves, it seemed that air fryers were soon going away. Keep in mind during this time the typical air fryer was not as powerful as it was today. In fact these previous generation air fryers we’re only capable of heating up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The technology continue to advance and the air fryers were then capable of higher temperatures.
As many investors found that air fryers could not replace microwaves during the time, they decided to market air fryers at a different angle.
Instead of exclusively using air fryers to reheat frozen food which was something microwaves did very well, they decided to change the course and promote the capabilities of an air fryer producing fresh food from raw ingredients instead.
This idea was a complete success and today air fryers are the trending topic when it comes to kitchen appliances.
About the very first air fryer
William Maxson is considered the person who invented the first air fryer. He named it the Maxson Whirlwind Oven.
It was a heavy egg-shaped kitchen appliance that was made of steel. Maxson installed a fan in the back of the unit that helps circulate hot air around the food.
By adding a fan, Maxon knew that he was able to prevent the heat from concentrating in one area. The air would evenly cook the food around it.
Unfortunately, this device was overshadowed by the introduction of microwave ovens. Microwave ovens proved to be a much quicker method of cooking.
It wasn’t until several years afterward did air fryers as the one Maxon created came back to life.
What was the first commercial air fryer?
Sadly enough, the very first air fryer that William L Maxson built never made it outside of the assembly line. There were many faults to it including its weight. There was just no way of building a device like this in the masses for the public.
One of the early pioneers in developing an air-frying technology was a company called Philips, which introduced its first Airfryer model in 2010. Philips is often credited with popularizing the term “air fryer” and bringing the concept of air frying into mainstream use.
This design was actually built by a man named Fred Van der Weij.
This version of the air fryer is probably the one we are all familiar with. It was in the shape of an egg.
Since then, many other companies have entered the market with their own variations of air fryers, including Ninja, Cosori, GoWISE, and others.
These companies have developed their own designs, features, and technologies to make air frying more convenient, efficient, and versatile for home cooking.
How did the air fryer become so popular?
It’s hard to say the real reason for air fryers becoming so popular. But we do have some theories as to why.
- Healthier cooking: The air fryer promised a healthier way to cook crispy and delicious food with significantly less oil compared to traditional deep frying. This appealed to health-conscious consumers who were looking for ways to reduce their oil intake and make healthier food choices.
- Convenience and time-saving: Air fryers are designed to be quick and easy to use, with features such as rapid preheating, adjustable temperature controls, and programmable timers. They can cook a wide variety of foods, including frozen items, in a fraction of the time required for traditional cooking methods such as oven baking. This convenience and time-saving aspect appealed to busy households and individuals looking for quick and easy meal preparation.
- Versatility: Air fryers are versatile appliances that can cook a wide range of foods, including fries, chicken wings, onion rings, vegetables, and even baked goods like cakes and cookies. This versatility made air fryers appealing to consumers who wanted a single appliance that could handle multiple cooking tasks and replace or supplement other kitchen appliances.
- Safety features: Many air fryers come with safety features such as automatic shut-off, cool-touch handles, and non-slip feet, which appealed to safety-conscious consumers who were concerned about the risks associated with traditional deep frying.
- Social media and word-of-mouth marketing: Air fryers gained significant attention on social media platforms, with influencers and food bloggers sharing recipes, cooking tips, and reviews, which helped to create buzz and generate interest among consumers. Positive word-of-mouth marketing from satisfied users also played a significant role in the popularity of air fryers.
- Consumer demand for innovative kitchen appliances: As consumers seek new and innovative ways to cook at home, air fryers offered a unique and novel cooking method that captured the interest of consumers who were looking for modern kitchen appliances that could simplify their cooking experience and expand their culinary options.
How does an air fryer work?
An air fryer uses rapid air circulation and high heat to cook food, creating a crispy texture without the need for excessive oil.
The food is preheated, coated with oil or cooking spray (optional), loaded into the basket, and cooked with a powerful fan that circulates hot air around the food, sealing in moisture and creating a crispy outer layer.
Adjustable temperature and time settings allow for customization, and some models may require shaking or flipping during cooking.
Once done, the food is ready to be served, and the removable parts can be easily cleaned.
Overall, an air fryer provides a healthier frying alternative by using hot air instead of oil for cooking.
Who built and designed today’s modern air fryers?
As the downward spiral of air fryers continued. It wasn’t until the early 1990s that air fryers were beginning to pick up traction again.
It wasn’t really until 2008 when Phillips developed their own version of the air fryer and introduced it to the world.
The marketing tactic here was to introduce it as a device that cooks raw food into fresh meals.
Gone were the days that found benefit in reheating frozen meals. However, you and I both know that air fryers are great for reheating leftovers.
As Time continued even up to today, air fryers grow in popularity.
What are the air fryers of today?
The air fryers of today are small, efficient, and Powerful devices with lots of smarts inside.
They come in two popular but different forms which include the basket style air fryer and the oven style air fryer. Both have their similarities and differences. There’s not really one definitive winner when it comes to these styles.
And it’s not conclusive among its users which one is best. However these days, the air fryers can heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, a searing temperature.
Air fryers are also built with a multitude of features which include broil, bake, dehydrate, and even sear. These machines are built with intelligent timers safety factors that shut off the machine after a certain amount of time or temperature setting.
What’s the future of air fryers going to be like?
- Enhanced technology: Air fryers may continue to incorporate advanced technologies, such as improved heating elements, sensors, and digital controls, to provide more precise and efficient cooking results. This could include features such as smart connectivity, voice control, and automated cooking programs that can be controlled remotely via smartphones or other devices.
- Expanded cooking functions: Air fryers may expand beyond their current capabilities of air frying and incorporate additional cooking functions, such as baking, grilling, dehydrating, and sous vide. This could make air fryers more versatile and capable of replacing multiple kitchen appliances, offering more convenience and versatility in the kitchen.
- Health-focused features: Health-conscious features, such as built-in air purifiers, filters, or sensors that monitor and adjust cooking to reduce oil usage or remove harmful particles, could become more prevalent in future air fryer models. This could further promote healthy cooking practices and cater to consumer demands for healthier meal options.
- Sustainable design: With increasing awareness of environmental concerns, future air fryers may incorporate more sustainable design elements, such as using eco-friendly materials, reducing energy consumption, and minimizing waste generation. This could include features like energy-efficient cooking, recyclable components, and sustainable packaging.
- Customization and personalization: Air fryers may offer more customization and personalization options, allowing users to tailor cooking settings to their specific preferences or dietary requirements. This could include personalized cooking presets, adjustable cooking chambers, or customizable accessories to accommodate different cooking styles and preferences.
- Compact and space-saving designs: Future air fryers may continue to evolve in terms of size and design, becoming more compact and space-saving to cater to smaller kitchens or limited counter space. This could include stackable or modular designs that offer flexibility in usage and storage.
- Integration with smart kitchen ecosystems: Air fryers could be integrated with smart kitchen ecosystems, where they can communicate and synchronize with other smart appliances, cookware, or recipe databases. This could enable seamless and automated cooking experiences, where appliances work together to deliver optimal results and offer greater convenience in the kitchen.
Table: Evolution of Air Fryers Past, Present, and Future Difference
|Evolutionary Aspect||Past Air Fryers||Present Air Fryers||Future Air Fryers|
|Technology||Basic heating||Advanced heating||Enhanced technology, such as smart connectivity, voice control, automated cooking programs, etc.|
|Cooking Functions||Air frying only||Air frying, baking, grilling, dehydrating, etc.||Expanded cooking functions, such as sous vide or other advanced cooking techniques|
|Health-focused Features||Basic design||Oil reduction features, basic filtration||Built-in air purifiers, advanced filtration, sensors to monitor and adjust cooking for healthier results|
|Sustainability||Basic materials||Some eco-friendly materials||More sustainable materials, energy-efficient cooking, recyclable components, etc.|
|Customization||Limited presets||Customizable presets, adjustable settings||Personalized cooking presets, customizable cooking chambers, accessories, etc.|
|Size and Design||Varied sizes and designs||Compact and space-saving designs||Further compact and space-saving designs, stackable or modular options|
|Integration with Smart Kitchen Ecosystems||Not applicable||Limited integration with other appliances||Integration with smart kitchen ecosystems, communication and synchronization with other smart appliances, cookware, etc.|
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