Toasters as we know began to pop up in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They were typically used to toast bread and other types of breadcrumbs as a topping for soups and stews. In 1872, a patent was launched for the pop-up toaster, which is essentially what we have today. The toaster was made mostly of cast iron and had a handle pulled down to release the bread being toasted. It worked well for popping up bread but wasn’t exactly a convenient design for residential use.
Then in 1893, The Eclipse Toaster was patented. This toaster was created by Alan Macmasters, who offered the toaster in two sizes, one for 4-5 slices and another for 6-7 slices. His innovation was to add a wire rack on the bottom of the toaster. Almost after a decade and a half, General Electric released an electric toaster. This was the first commercial electric toaster on the market.
In 1913, Copeman Electric Toasters were invented by J.W. Copeman, a Scottish inventor whose version of the toaster was not designed for home use but rather for commercial use. This toaster was all cast iron and had a sturdy design that made it long-lasting. It sold for a whopping 3 pounds, 15 shillings in England. This wasn’t really a feasible price tag for home use, but it was a big step forward in toasting technology. In the 1920s, the automatic pop-up toaster was invented by Charles Strite and made its debut at the 1939 World’s Fair. It was sold under the brand name Toastmaster, and it sold for $2.75 (and came in stylish colors such as black and pink).
During the 1930s, George Schneider applied for a patent on a toaster that allowed the bread to be inserted into slots on both the top and bottom of the bread. This made it easier for people to toast bread without having to flip it over halfway through. Schneider began marketing his product in 1938 under the brand name Toast-R-Oven, which was later renamed Sno-Toaster. In 1954, Robert Gair invented both vertical and horizontal single slice pop-up toasters. This design has been used in most toasters up to this day.
Throughout this century, toaster design has dramatically changed. In the 1970s, the development of heat-resistant plastics led to electric toasters with plastic heating elements. Toaster ovens were then born. In addition to the invention of the pop-up toaster, many toasters have been invented throughout the years ranging from glass-fronted appliances that visually display bread slices to the vertical-slice model to the current kettle-style toaster.
To this day, there are many toaster designs still being made, but the most popular are kettle-style and pop-up. Several top-rated brands include Toastabix, Russell Hobbs, Design Housewares, Ramsay Design & Cooking Range, and West Bend.
The Future of Toasting Machines
Modern toasters are becoming more efficient. New designs are being used to release the bread with less force, so it’s easier on the user’s hands. Rather than having to push down on a lever at nearly full force, pop-up toasters have designed new levers that are positioned away from the handle. They’re still about 4 inches wide, but at least there’s less chance of burning yourself with hot plastic if you’re not careful.
Also, the toasting time for a toaster is being reduced. New toasters can prepare toast in less than a minute rather than the typical 3 minutes. This makes it easier for people to prepare their bread and get on with their day. Finally, there’s the invention of the smart-toaster, or what some people call “smart toast.” A smart-toaster can tell when toast is ready and alert the user with an alert, such as a beep or flash of light.
Toasters have come a long way since their inception and will continue to evolve soon. Whether you’re getting ready for a romantic evening or want to get your morning coffee and toast, the toaster is still one of the most useful appliances that you can buy.