Vintage Toasters: How These Small Wonders Have Evolved Over the Years

In this article, we'll uncover the fascinating evolution of the old toaster, uncovering the magic behind these beloved culinary companions.

The primary technical problem in the development of the toaster in the late 20th century was the development of a heating element that would be capable of repeatedly heating to red-hot temperatures without breaking or becoming too brittle.

The first standalone electric toaster, the Eclipse, was made in 1893 by Crompton & Company of Chelmsford, Essex. With its bare wires the bread is baked one side at a time.

The heating element problem was solved in 1905 by a young engineer named Albert Marsh, who designed an alloy of nickel and chromium, known as nichrome.

The first US patent application for an electric toaster was filed by George Schneider of the American Electrical Heater Company of Detroit in collaboration with Marsh.

One of the first applications the Hoskins Company considered for its chromel wire was for use in toasters, but the company eventually abandoned such efforts to concentrate solely on wire making.

The first commercially successful electric toaster was introduced by General Electric in 1909 for the GE Model D-12.

The turnover was designed with spring-loaded doors on both sides, each holding a slice of bread.

As soon as one side of the bread is toasted, the operator lowers the door to allow the partially toasted side to drop down, ensuring toasting even when the door closes again.

This toaster, being manually operated, was often placed directly on the breakfast table, the task of managing the toasting process falling on the attentive person in charge of the toast.

The flopper had metal doors decorated with attractive cutout patterns at the bottom. When these doors were closed they assumed an "A" shape.

In this inventive design, when toasting was complete, the operator simply opened the side doors, and the toast "flopped" out beautifully.

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