This article was last updated on October 15th, 2020
When was the Dutch oven invented? According to Merriam-Webster, the Dutch oven was first used in 1769. Not much context is given on what the circumstances were when the Dutch oven was first used, other than to point out that the cookware used was a metal shield, used for roasting before an open fire.
However, it is also worth noting that a Dutch oven can also refer to a ‘brick oven’ that is used to cook with preheated walls. The most commonly used Dutch oven in the 21st century, though, is essentially a deep, heavy pot with a tight lid.
It is when you really look into the use of the latter two Dutch oven examples that the lines become a tad blurred.
It is under those circumstances that you will not encounter a tremendous amount of clarity on when the Dutch oven was actually invented.
You will learn more about key inventions or product developments over time though.
Patent for Casting Iron in Sand
The first patent for casting iron in sand – which is the process originally used to create the modern Dutch oven – was obtained in 1707.
That patent was obtained by the British industrialist Abraham Darby, one of the men who are credited with developing and mastering the cast iron technique.
Sources reveal that Darby and his business partners have been using the term Dutch oven since 1710, at the very least.
BK Royal Dutch Oven Product Process – Video
What About the Dutch Methods?
While Darby’s role in the development of the Dutch oven is the generally accepted pot, it is perhaps worth noting that even his cast-iron techniques were actually derived from what the Dutch were doing before that.
Prior to Darby’s interventions, the Dutch had been using sand molds to make their brass pots.
Those Dutch techniques had been a departure from the more traditional, although more expensive, loam and clay molds from earlier times.
While Darby’s are the generally accepted dates for the invention of the Dutch oven, anybody genuinely interested in the entire history needs to note that the Netherlands had been a pioneer in the brass cookware industry since the early 18th century at the very least.
There is every possibility that the Dutch had actually begun using sand molds late in the 17th century. The sand molds were a low-cost technique and produced a particularly fine finish – only to be outdone by cast iron in the end.
Darby’s cast iron techniques were merely a progression from that. That is to say, cast iron was cheaper and quicker to make, which is all that Darby had been striving for when he first investigated how the Dutch were doing it before taking those secrets back home to England.
It Is Not Really a Dutch Oven Unless It Is Made by BK
The fact that BK is one of the leading Dutch oven manufacturers in the world, remains a source of tremendous pride for the people of the Netherlands.
The company was established in 1851, which makes it one of the oldest in the business.
As a forerunner in the industry, BK was a pioneer with the introduction of an enamel coating on the inside of the Dutch Oven pot.
That breakthrough was first made in 1891. Johannes Berk Van Kampen, the company founder’s son, gets all the credit for that development.
Every other Dutch Oven company is merely a follower on that score.
In 1926, what experts call the quintessential Dutch oven was first introduced. That is a reference to the modern design of the Dutch Oven.
Most other companies have merely followed BK’s lead in this regard. It is a design that has also now been taken for granted.
However, it is steeped in tradition.
BK then introduced aluminum pots in 1931. That was a Dutch oven invention made to compensate for the introduction of electric and gas cooking in Europe and North America.
The aluminum collection of Dutch ovens was made to survive the new stovetops. It was a massive step into the future of their cookware.
A key component of the Dutch oven from BK is something called a bonded base. That was introduced in 1963. Once again, the company was a pioneer in the field.
The significance of the bonded base is that it gets hot considerably quicker than the traditional Dutch oven and that heat will ultimately be spread more evenly when cooking. As if the spread of heat on the Dutch oven was not even enough already. It really is a pretty flawless design.
Another key invention by the company was the heat-proof grab handles on its Dutch oven pots. That essentially meant you would not only be slow-cooking stews with your Dutch oven pot but also that you would be frying and braising your meals.
The Dutch, Dutch oven company was clearly ahead of its time in most spheres, securing the country’s legacy in the industry.
Even as recently as 2008, the inventions have kept coming at BK. The latest being something called the Wokarang. Although not strictly a Dutch oven, a defining feature of this product is the bowl-shaped edge that allows you to toss fried food a lot easier and ultimately better.
Le Creuset, the Company That Stole the Dutch Thunder
They might be called Dutch ovens, but the biggest name in the industry today is without doubt Le Creuset. Strangely enough, that is a French company, which just adds to the intrigue.
Given that the French cookware company is an industry leader, it is worth exploring just how long they have been involved in the production of modern Dutch ovens and what contributions or inventions they have made along the way.
The company itself is actually pretty young, in the context of the Dutch oven’s history. It was only founded in 1925. The company started making Dutch ovens from the outset though.
A key development at that point was the addition of bright color to the Dutch oven pots they produced. There had already been color on BK products, just not as bright or as diverse in range.
The range of colors had been a defining feature of Le Creuset’s Dutch oven products during the past century but the most famous of the lot was the Flame Orange, which is still the company signature. It has to be said that Flame Orange does feel like somewhat of a tribute to the Dutch too.
So, initially, modern Dutch ovens only included an enamel coating on the inside of the pot – competitor BK was responsible for that.
In the early 20th century, Le Creuset started adding an enamel coating on the outside – the most prominent feature being the color that they introduced.
Staub, Late to the Dutch Oven Game but Still Matter
Staub is another French company which has gone on to dominate the Dutch oven industry.
They were established in 1974 when they introduced what went on to be known as the double-glazed enamel.
It was an important “invention” for the industry because it meant that the risk of rust and dirt build-up would be minimized – and in most cases, it actually eliminated both rust and dirt. The Dutch oven became considerably easier for owners to clean.
Final Thoughts – When Was the Dutch Oven Invented!
I sincerely hope you have learned a little about when the Dutch oven was invented by reading this article today. I have three more articles about the Dutch oven history here – the name here and who invented the oven here. Please have a read and enjoy…
Merriam Webster – Dutch ovens
BK Cookware – History
Wikipedia – Thomas Darby