“The basic story of the AGA is, it was invented by Gustaf Dalén who was famous for many reasons not just the AGA,” says Michael Dawes, nationals operations manager for AGA Australia.
Prior to the cooker, the AGA company was actually a manufacturer and distributor of acetylene gas. Dalén was blinded in 1912 by an explosion while further developing his invention to store the acetylene, and received the Nobel Prize in physics the same year for yet another invention.
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“After that [accident] he spent more time at home, and while in the house he soon understood his wife didn’t have a cooker that worked to her expectations.
“The original AGAs were coke-burning cast-iron hotplates to cook with. They evolved with how they’re heated, going to oil and now to gas, with electricity for some features too, and still with cast iron so using the same principal and offering more flexibility.”
Still today, they operate with “the same premise of what cast iron can produce, but now you can independently turn on and off every section. If you want to you can leave it on for ambience and warmth into the kitchen space. They also have program timers for individual requirements.”
The modern AGA is also available in a range of sizes, from the compact AGA 60, so named for being 60cm wide, through to the 2.1m wide version. There are also 1m and 1.5m models in between, and oven combinations from two to seven.
“You’ll find AGAs in every part of the world. It’s been decommissioned now, but there was even one at the exploration base in Antarctica.”