Joseph Hawkins developed what are now known as metal oven racks to aid in home cooking. The oven racks were based on gridirons, which were metal racks attached to a wooden handle and were placed on a campfire or placed inside of a fireplace to heat or broil various types of meat. By the early 1800′s, gridirons were not used as much as most homes had begun using kitchen stoves upon which to cook.
Hawkins received a patent for the improved gridiron on March 26, 1845. The device allowed for different items to be cooked at different level of heat intensity, thus enabling cooks to heat several types of food at once.