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Who Invented the Pressure Cooker? Origins, History, & FAQ

double valve pressure cooker

Pressure cookers are one of those time-saving appliances we frequently use to prepare meals for our families. In our haste to get the job done, we may not always think about when these appliances came about or who invented them. For instance, pressure cookers have been around for over two centuries. Who knew? The first pressure cooker was invented by Denis Papin, a French Physicist. He introduced the apparatus to the Royal Society in London in 1681.

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When Was the Pressure Cooker Invented?

The original pressure cooker was invented in 1679. Since then, there have been inventors and progress in science and technology that bring us to the pressure cooker we are familiar with today.

Pressure cooker steam over cooking in a Kitchen
Image Credit: Prarinya, Shutterstock

Denis Papin and the First Pressure Cooker

The inventor named the apparatus “The Steam Digester.” The digester was designed to increase boiling temperature and allow the steam to escape to prevent the device from exploding. The machine was created to soften bones, decrease cooking time, and provide nutrition for the poor. The machine was too expensive and awkward to be used in residential kitchens, however.

Nicolas Appert and the Canning Process

In 1804, another Frenchman named Nicolas Appert used the idea of cooking under pressure for canning food to increase the shelf life of food.

Inventors like Georg Gutbrod and Jose Alix Martinex continued to improve on the original version invented by Papin.

The pressure cooker was still far from being popular in homes, however.

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Alfred Vischer and the Flexi-seal Speed Cooker

Finally, a device was created for households. In 1938, Alfred Vischer in New York created the Flexi-seal speed cooker. The speed cooker was being mass-produced by companies in Europe and America. The machine reduced cooking time and made preparing meals easier for European and American homemakers. Due to the increase in demand, manufacturing the pressure cooker was a profitable business for many companies.

Steam escaping from lid of pressure cooker
Image By: Santhosh Varghese, Shutterstock

Indhumadhab Mallick and the Steam Cooker

Mallick, a polymath from West Bengal, invented the steam cooker or ICMIC cooker to cook complete meals in a few hours. The device was portable and popular for traveling families. The steam cooker also became popular and sold in Mumbai (Bombay) with the name Santosh Cooker and in Madras as a Rukmani cooker.

It was the slow cookers that were made and sold in India that opened the door for the pressure cookers that were popular in Indian households decades later.

During World War II, pressure cooker companies were producing canned food for the troops, which decreased the production of pressure cookers. Since there was still a demand for cookers, other companies began producing cookers of lesser quality and riddles with safety issues. That, along with the convenience of prepared meals and modern stoves, the cooker became less popular in the West.

Although its popularity was decreasing in the West, it was becoming increasingly popular in South Asia.

The Pressure Cooker Arrives in India

The first pressure cookers to arrive in India were produced by Hawkins and TT Pvt Ltd, and they were long overdue. Unfortunately, the pressure cookers still had safety and handling issues, so they were avoided by many Indian cooks.

cooking rice using pressure cooker in india
Image By: AmyartsEntertainment, Shutterstock

Improvements to Pressure Cookers

In the 1970s, pressure cookers were produced with improvements like backup vents, pressure locks, and instruction manuals.

By the 1980s, professional and household kitchens across India depended on pressure cookers to relieve homemakers from cooking for long hours, easing the preparation of bulk food, and enjoying the benefits of reduced gas bills.


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Unlike some of the pressure cookers in the past, many households have pressure cookers that are safe and easy to use. They are an efficient way for households with jobs and children to prepare healthy meals in less time while still maintaining the nutritional value of food.

Featured Image Credit: gcafotografia, Shutterstock


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