In 1877, in a small town in Germany's Baden-Württemberg province, smoke began to appear above a small semi-timbered cottage. Carl Neff and 6 partners had moved in and set up the first NEFF workshop. Little did they know that one little cottage would one day take over Europe.
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Much has changed since Carl Neff made his first oven in 1877. People all over the world have rolled up their sleeves and shared in the joys and chores of cooking. Global ingredients have become local ingredients. And from humble beginnings, the kitchen has grown in stature, to become the centrepiece of the home - often with a NEFF oven right at its heart.
1877 - Something's cooking
Carl Neff - an eye for unlocking potential
Carl Neff was a master locksmith before he turned his talents to ovens. At his first factory, the very first NEFF models - coal burning stoves - were produced by just 6 pairs of hands. If you looked inside one, you'd notice how well built and how simple to use it was - exactly the same qualities you find in a NEFF appliance today. As well as having a craftsman's touch, Carl Neff also had the most important quality of all - a good nose. In Carl's case, a nose for always anticipating what customers would need in the future, and then satisfying their needs by using his natural ingenuity.
1885 - Baking for the Belle Epoque
Fin de siècle Europe is a good time to be alive - hence the name, the belle Époque (or 'beautiful time'). Across the continent, arts and culture are booming, and urbanites are piling into cafes to discuss the latest topics over steaming coffee and baked treats. Thankfully, Carl Neff had noticed what was happening, and developed a new oven designed to help patisseries meet the rising demand. Thus, NEFF's new commercial ovens helped cater to Europe's new-found sweet tooth, and keep its conversations light, buttery and flavoursome.
1919 - Proving and rising
Over the next two decades, NEFF was toiling away in its kitchens innovating and creating new models. First came the first large-scale ovens for industrial kitchens, then NEFF perfected a new gas-fired oven that would replace dirty coal stoves. In 1919, the first patented gas oven for patisseries came onto the market.
1949 - NEFF gives birth to twins!
And gives cooks all over the world a reason to celebrate. Why? Well, even though times were tough after the war and the food was pretty grim, a new NEFF oven came off the production line that offered chefs plenty of cheer. Now, for the first time, you could get an oven with two separately-controlled heating compartments, and therefore cook different dishes at different rates.
A new NEFF model comes into service - meet Alfred
Dr. Alfred Neff was the son of our founder, Carl, and so one might call him a proud new model off the NEFF production line. This latest model, Alfred, inherited the entire business from his father during the war, and would soon continue in Carl's footsteps, anticipating cooks' needs by innovating. But first, the NEFF company and its new director would play a small role in a miraculous period in the German post-war recovery that would later be called the "Wirtschaftswunder" (economic wonder).
Made in Germany
During this time, factory output soared, and in a short space of time, 'Made in Germany' became a badge of engineering quality unmatched around the globe. Spurred by this extraordinary period of growth and success, it wasn't long before Alfred Neff started looking for new cooking frontiers to conquer, first overseeing NEFF's early forays into refrigeration, and then making a major impact in the washing machine category.
1950s - A decade bubbling with innovation
In the 50s, capitalism had unleashed the full potential of industry and the Western world was literally bubbling with innovation. Whilst rock stars strutted their stuff and set pulses racing with their risqué dance moves, NEFF introduced a couple of new innovations - the induction hob, the microwave and the Arcus stove - to add a bit of rock and roll to the kitchen. There was always a danger things would get too hot, but not to worry. NEFF were the first company to introduce thermostats as standard across all our ovens.
1960s - Plates stacked high. Appliances too
In the 60s women started to strive for independence, meaning less time spent in the kitchen and more efficient kitchens. Thus oven sizes expanded to be able to take care of more food at once, and NEFF launched the very first built-in appliances to save space. Meanwhile, in kitchens in hotels and airports around the world, the satisfying ping of microwave timers was to be heard more and more often. The reason? NEFF had begun shipping the very first industrial microwaves.
1970s - Cook it your way
Instead of either or, why not both and! With the new NEFF Domino modular cooker you could choose different elements for your cooker - gas, electric, fryer, grill, warmer elements - and combine them into one unit. Even better, with the invention of the CIRCOTHERM oven, you could place dishes on different racks without any danger of the flavours intermingling. Not only could chefs cook it their way, but more importantly, they could now do it without their baked Alaska tasting of their saumon en croute.
1980s - Move it, shake it, bake it
The 80s were flashy, energetic and free-spirited. And in the kitchen you could have your own little bit of that feeling by doing the CLOU. No, not actually a dancefloor move, but a new oven technology designed to make it easier to manoeuvre food into and out of a hot oven with racks mounted on rollers and rails. At the same time, NEFF also introduced interior lighting for ovens so you could see how your dishes were performing. Making it the perfect decade to get into your cooking groove!
1990s - A new appetite for elegance
A pioneering decade for kitchen design at NEFF - now, the humble kitchen appliance stops being something purely functional, and starts to look - dare we say it - rather slick. Hobs and ovens even have touches of chrome and elegant digital displays of high end audio equipment. Of course, once you've got a great looking kitchen, you want to keep it that way. And now, thanks to NEFF's new EasyClean technology, you could.
2000s - Functionality is chic
Every year NEFF is recognized with industry awards for our unique blend of design and functionality. In the 'Noughties', NEFF continued to refine our cooking range, with appliances given an aluminium coating for instantly cool modern charisma. But for us, true beauty lies where design also enhances functionality. Look beneath the surface, and you'll find stunning innovations like Circosteam, for lovers of crisp, crunchy vegetables, or our Compact Cafe, the ultimate home coffee gadget for bean coinesseurs.
2010s - Bringing magic into the kitchen
In the "twenty- tens", NEFF has turned to magic in the search for ever-more delicious ways to cook. Okay, that's not literally true, but we do like to think there's a little bit of magic in our latest innovations. Take Variosteam. During cooking, our Variosteam technology adds moisture to the oven (in the form of steam), meaning that roasts, for example, will turn out succulent and juicy every time (carnivores rejoice!). Another piece of kitchen sorcery is NEFF's Flexinduction hob. Just place a pan anywhere on its smooth, dark surface and only the pan heats up, whilst the rest of your cooking area stays cool to the touch.