fireplace mantel

History of Range Hoods

At Old World Stoneworks, our cast stone has been used to surround a variety of range hoods that improve the air quality of your home, keep your kitchen cooler and cleaner, and beautify your interior. But like many appliances, it’s easy to take the range hood for granted. So this week we’ll peek into the history of how the modern range hood developed.

What is a Range Hood?

To review, a range hood has three components: a fan, a capture panel to trap rising gases, and at least one grease filter. They’re also known as extractor hoods, ventilation hoods, cooking canopies, electric chimneys and fume extractors.

Range hoods can be vented or ductless. In a vented system, a blower motor attaches to the output collar and sends the air outside. In ductless systems, a filter removes smoke particles and odor, often using activated charcoal, then releases the newly cleaned air into the kitchen. Nowadays, most range hoods are electronic, with the accompanying advantages of remote control, thermal sensors, active noise cancellation, etc…

Patents Galore

Of course, all the components and technology that comprise a modern range hood had to be invented. The toil of many inventors is lost to obscurity. Who knows how many men – and maybe a few pioneering women – labored in home workshops, trying to solve the problems of the day?

Fortunately, we have a long patent record. So it’s easy to trace some of the developments in range hood history.

Theodore R.N. Gerdes applied for a patent in 1926 for his “ventilating hood for ranges, etc.” In his application he mentions that range hoods were already commonly used, but they had a flaw: “Some of these fumes inevitably tend to escape from the edges of the hood, as has been commonly experienced hitherto.” He used a fan to catch the escaping fumes.

In 1928, Lloyd W. Ray filed for a patent for a stove hood “particularly designed for use in connection with a stove or hot plate such as is used in hamburger stands and the like and provision is made for separating the grease from the vapors as well as to carry oil hot air from underneath the hot plate.”

Henry Broan started his business manufacturing ventilation fans in 1932. His original fan, the Motordor, was a great success in providing efficient and quiet kitchen ventilation. Amazingly, more than 80 years later, Broan-NuTone LLC has 2500 employees and is a leader in ventilation fans and range hoods.

Vent-A-Hood® Company, founded in 1933, bills itself as the first manufacturer of home cooking ventilation and range hoods. The founders solicited orders then built the range hoods one by one inside a house in Dallas with a dirt floor.

Patents filed in the 1950s further refined range hoods. James A Nelson and Frederick J. Port devised a way to cool the sides and top portions of a range. William A. Pledger filed several range hood-related patents, including a detachable and replaceable filter “to collect the grease from fumes and smoke drawn off from said ranges.”

By 1967, when Donald E. King filed a patent for his kitchen exhaust hood, designs had become quite sophisticated. His application describes “a drip-proof louver for receiving hot grease-laden air, water spray to cool the hot air and condense the grease and a blower for discharging air drawn into the hood and centrifugally separating water droplets therefrom.”

Range Hoods of Today

Today’s range hoods incorporate many of these incremental developments into modern, beautiful additions to your kitchen.

carved florentine

The delicately carved Florentine

We are proud of our contribution to the artistry of range hoods. And we’re grateful for everybody who went before, inventing and filing patents for the many components that resulted in the efficient appliances our attractive range hoods cover today.

Thinking of upgrading your kitchen? Make range hood history in your home and contact Old World Stoneworks to get started today!