Crock Pot in the kitchen: A short history.
A short history of a much loved home kitchen appliance.
The Rival Crock Pot is to the history of home kitchen slow-cooking what Walt Disney is to the history of family theme parks.
Since 1970, the Crock Pot has been making meal preparation so much easier for many of us, but the funny thing is that it was actually a 'what if' byproduct of an earlier invention and could have easily never even seen the light of day. In late 1970, Rival acquired the assets of the Naxon Utilities Corp. Along with this came the patent rights to a device called the "beanery"; this device was a slow cooker of sorts, intended for use in the cooking of beans. This item was not seen as having any strong commercial appeal for home kitchens, but the Rival company nevertheless let their on-staff cooks play around with it. Soon enough it became clear to them that the beanery appliance had another potential use: it could be used to cook various types of meat, and what's more, it could do so better than it did with beans. Soon after the modern Crock Pot slow cooker was born! The first Rival Crock Pot slow cooker was released to the domestic market in 1971. It came with a basic crock interior, a glass lid, and a bright red exterior.
In 1974, Rival introduced one of their first innovations to the Crock Pot, witrh the introduction of the Rinse-Clean removable stoneware liner, to make it easier to clean your Crock Pot after use. By 1981 sales of Crock Pot brand slow cookers had topped $30 million - just 10 years after its commercial release. Things kept changing at the Crock Pot compound, and in 1997 the oval Crock Pot slow cooker was introduced, making it more convenient to use it with more oblong roasts. Of course the standard round shaped Crock was still made available after this.Rival kept up with the times, and in 2001 the first programmable slow cooker was introduced, called the Smart-Pot. In 2003, the Crock Pot line was expanded even further, with the introduction of the Recipe Smart-Pot, which came complete with over 200 preprogrammed recipes. In 2004, Rival introduced it's new VersaWare which featured ETC (Extreme Temperature Stoneware) and made it available in stores. The unique stoneware could be used in slow cookers, on stovetops, in the oven, in the microwave or in the refrigerater. The stoneware has a surface area equivalent to a skillet which allows for sauteing as well. Today, we are at the point where many Rival Crock Pot replacement parts and accessories are available; transportable Crocks with lid clamps are available, vegetable cookers are available (talk about coming full circle, huh?), as are travel cases and dust covers. There is a whole range of gadgets and Rival crockpot accessories available including the Little Dipper sauce crock as well as non scratching utensils. Of course, there is also a plethora of Crock Pot sanctioned slow cooking recipe books available for the slow cooking enthusiast.