One of the most effective forms of pain relief for a chronic injury is heat. Ice is used within the first 48 hours to reduce swelling, but then heat is used to promote healing. Many households own a heating pad because of this very fact. In the early 1900’s, a man named Earl Richardson was working for his local power utility in Ontario, CA as a meter reader. He enjoyed electricity and experimented with a number of different items. In 1911, he invented the first heating pad, which he called the “El Warmo.”
Richardson actually left his job as a meter reader in order to electrify common household appliances. His ingenuity led him to the creation of a number of inventions that we still use today in some way.
1. The Jug Cooker
It’s pretty easy to cook a meal when you’ve got a slow cooker in your kitchen. Using the power of electricity, you can just throw some food into the cooking bowl and let it simmer for hours. The most famous brand of slow cookers is Crock Pot, so much so that most slow cookers are just called “crock pots.” Richardson invented an early version of the slow cooker, which he called the Jug Cooker. It first came out in 1920 and was a pretty modern version of what you’d find in many kitchens today.
2. The El Teballo
Teapots are a pretty common tool used in the kitchen as well. Although you can get a tea steeper and set it inside some hot water to create tea, it is most often made in a kettle on the stove and then poured into a teapot. What happens over time? The tea in the teapot gets cold. Richardson developed an electric teapot that would help to keep the tea warm, kind of like how a coffeemaker keeps a pot of coffee warm over time.
3. The El Perco
Speaking of coffeemakers, Richardson also developed an early model of the electric coffeepot that would help to brew coffee and then keep it warm. It’s an invention that we take advantage of still today, since all you have to do is put some coffee into a filter, add some water, and then turn on the small kitchen appliance. Before this appliance was electrified, however, many of the methods to percolate coffee involved stove top appliances and the requirement of a flame to heat it up.
4. The El Stovo
Having a hot plate is a nice thing to have. It’s a portable way to be able to cook something that doesn’t require an actual stove. You’ll find a hot plate on many gas grills today. Richardson thought having a hot plate that could plug-in would be a useful item as well and that led to the invention of the El Stovo. Advertised as being quick and economical, it had a three heat snap switch heat control and that it could “do all the cooking, just not the baking.”