A historic perspective on static recrystallization is presented. It will cover the period from the early 18xx, when solid state crystallization was first proposed, till today. Focus is in particular on how the development of new experimental techniques has contributed to the advancement of this understanding. This includes X-ray diffraction, metallography, transmission electron microscopy, texture measurements, electron backscattering diffraction in the scanning electron microscope and the novel non-destructive 3D X-ray methods. While the evolution in understanding of recrystallization during the early years are briefly summarized with focus on the changes in nomenclature, an in-depth analysis of the progress during the last 50 years is presented, including a discussion of the motivation behind the development of some of the above mentioned experimental techniques. Several topics for future studies of recrystallization are finally suggested.