Around 1900, all things to do with houses were taken over by an exciting wave of modernization. A new type of housing in the form of California Bungalows became popular across North America. Street cars made it possible to buy food from grocery stores in smaller quantities, making bulk food storage unnecessary. City water was connected to most houses between 1900 and 1920 in towns and cities, making wells, and carrying water outdated. Water heaters were connected to stoves, allowing hot water for both sinks and baths to be conveniently available. And ice boxes were common in homes, soon to be replaced by early refrigerators, which were introduced in the 1920’s.
Combined with this progress was the introduction (and understanding) of the necessity for better sanitary and waste water disposal, both for convenience and for health reasons.
Kitchen cupboards and counters were introduced in the early years of the 1900’s. Tops of counters were wood initially, which was an understandable design transfer of the familiar wood from the kitchen table being used for newly designed countertops. But the quest for the best counter top started then, and has not stopped to this day. Slate, linoleum, arborite, granite, quartz, stainless steel, and other material for countertops, have all been used as designers try to solve the countertop conundrum.
Below are a few samples of linoleum from a 1914-15 catalogue from a Scottish linoleum company – world-wide suppliers of linoleum – showing a range of printed linoleums suitable for kitchens.