A hundred years ago, in 1912, Charles Reginald Belling (1884-1965) set up an electrical engineering business with two friends. The firm made a variety of electrical equipment but it is probably best known for the very cute Baby Belling cooker.
Charles, often known as CRB, was born in 1884 in Bodmin, Cornwall where his father, Thomas was a dentist. After attending school in Cornwall he was apprenticed to Crompton & Co of Chelmsford, a firm which had pioneered electricity in the home. A few years later he moved and joined the staff of Ediswan in Ponders End, supervising the manufacture of arc lamps, transformers and heaters.
He set up his own business making electric heaters in a shed in Enfield. The firebars that he had designed (wire wound around a special form of ceramic) made electric fires much better. The heaters sold well and the business expanded. He applied some of this technical know how to cookers as well.
The first Baby Bellling was produced in 1929. These small ovens were cheaper than full-sized models and came onto the market as the number of houses wired for electricity was increasing. The proportion of British houses with an electrical supply rose from 18% in 1926 to 86% in 1949 .
CRB introduced a little cooker which did a great job in small poky flats and bedsits, definitely a food hero.
Belling is still going and has produced a book to mark its centenary. For more information go to http://www.belling.co.uk/Centenary/History/
 Rebecca Weaver and Rodney Dale, 1992, Machines in the Home, British Library, London, p. 6..