future of cooking to the past—1913, to be precise. Monopolistically produced by a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Company at the rate of six stoves per minute in a Cleveland factory, this oil-fueled appliance was a hit with households, selling more than 450,000 units that year. An excerpt from the company's newsletter describes in period-colorful language the R+D process:
"[The Standard Oil Company] secured the services of the most skilled men in this line; they studied the physics and the chemistry of burning; they spent months in determining and testing the right size of the wicks; the best shape of the wicks; the proper length of the chimneys, and countless other details which entered into the problem. They spared neither effort nor expense. Many perplexing difficulties were encountered, which required endless study and patience to overcome. But backed by the Standard Oil Company, they had gone into the work to succeed. And they did.
"They finally produced a stove and heater which burned without smoke or smell, and which were in every way superior to other oil-burning devices manufactured up to that time. The new devices were names the Perfection Oil Heater and the New Perfection Oil Cook-Stove."