Ovens have been with us, in some form or another, since ancient Greece. In the Middle Ages, brick and mortar ovens add more control to a process, both the fire and resulting smoke. It was not until cast iron ovens that they began to take on a shape more similar to the ovens of today. Electric ovens grew popular in the '30s and '40s, allowing people an alternative to wood-fired and cooker which uses gas. One drawback with electric ovens is that the element might have to be replaced. Fortunately, this is something you can do yourself.