Home / Evolution of the Multi-Cooker

A blueprint for the digester, from 1687.A blueprint from 1687. (PUBLIC DOMAIN)

According to The New York Times, a pressurized cooking pot was made in the 17th century by the French physicist Denis Papin, and led directly to the invention of the steam engine. 

French physicist Denis Papin

The first slow cooker was created on our doorstep in Chicago by a Chicago inventor Irving Naxon.

Alfred Vischer presented his invention, the Flex-Seal Speed Cooker, in New York City. Vischer's pressure cooker was the first designed for home use on the stove.

The Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker

Patented as “The Naxon Beanery All-Purpose Cooker,” the “Beanery” (as it came to be called), was inspired by Naxon’s mother who had told him stories about a bean-based stew she used to make in the village bakery ovens at home in Lithuania.

The stew, known as “cholent,” is a traditional Jewish dish that cooks all day. It’s rooted in the Jewish Sabbath when observant Jews are not supposed to do any work. So Naxon’s mother would put the stew in the baking ovens before sundown Friday night, when the Sabbath began, and cook until the end of Saturday services the next day. As you can imagine, the Naxon Beanery quickly became the Jewish housewife’s best friend!

a hybrid of the slow cooker/crock pot of 1950’s America and the rice cooker of 1950’s Japan.

The origins of the multi-cooker appear to be a hybrid of the slow cooker/crock pot of 1950’s America and the rice cooker of 1950’s Japan. Both the slow cooker and rice cooker evolved to incorporate timer and keep warm functions to satisfy consumer needs, which eventually led to this all-in-one appliance we now know as the multi-cooker.

original crock pot

Appliance giant Rival® bought the patent, redesigned, rebranded and launched their new iteration of the slow cooker to save the housewife who was now entering the workforce — but still responsible for the evening meal. A fact, we would like to add, that has not changed today.

Crockery Cookery cookbook


The joy of sex book

Rival had sold 2 million slow cookers and was a huge success story. Believe it or not, Crockery Cookery was on the best seller list, competing with another hit of the 1970’s, The Joy of Sex!

Original microwave

Convenience was the name of the game and the crockpot lost favor to another new invention, the microwave.

Chinese scientist, Yong-Guang Wang, filed the first electric pressure cooker patent on January 9th, 1991. This patent is currently owned by the world’s No. 1 electric pressure cooker manufacturer, Midea Group.

Crockpot, circa 2005

The slow cooker didn’t really make a resurgence until the next generation of cooks wanted to serve “from scratch” meals made with farm fresh and organic ingredients…but these same cooks were over-scheduled with afternoon activities for their children and themselves. That year, consumers bought 3.2 million Crock Pots®.

The first Instant Pot® debuted on Amazon. Behind the product is CEO/Founder Robert Wang.

In Amazon’s Prime Day sale, Instant Pot sold 215,000 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cookers.

Instant Pot, 2016

Instant Pot® broke its own Prime Day record with 300,000 units sold in 36 hours.