A toaster is an electric gadget that is used to prepare a toast by exposing sliced bread to heat as a method of preservation of bread. The practice of toasting bread dates back to the times of the Romans where the bread was toasted over an open fire. The word “toast” is actually derived from the Latin word “tostum” which means to scorch. Toasting was later adopted by the British who introduced it to America. Electric toasters were then invented and later, the basic toaster evolved to automatic toasters and pop toasters over time.
The First Electric Toaster And Its Evolution
In 1893, Alan MacMasters invented the first electric toaster in Scotland. Alan named the toaster “Eclipse Toaster” which was produced and sold commercially by the Crompton Company. The problem with this toaster was that the iron wiring would melt many times which created fire risks for the people. Electricity at this time was also not widespread in many people’s homes. This problem did not stay for long as in 1905, a solution came up. Albert Mash started working on the heating problem and came up with a solution to use an alloy made of nickel and chromium which later came to be known as Nichrome which he patented. Nichrome had a higher resistance to fire and therefore lasted longer. In 1906, George Schneider started to use the new alloy to make Dew toasters.
In 1909 Frank Shailor, under the name of the company General Electric, invented his new electric toaster and got a patent for it. His idea was called the “D-12” toaster. The D-12, however, could only toast one side of the bread and therefore needed someone to operate it manually. The next development was in 1913 when Hazel Berger and his husband Lloyd Copeman and the Copeman Company released its first toaster which turned the bread automatically and a year later the Westinghouse produced its electric toaster.
The Pop-up Toaster Is Invented
A breakthrough finally came in 1919. Charles Strife who was working for the Minnesota manufacturing company started to develop an automatic toaster in which he installed a timer and a spring that popped the bread up when the time was up. He filed for a patent on May 29, 1999, and finally got it on October 18, 1921. This is the design that is used in modern toasters. In the same year, the Waters Genter Company was formed to be in charge of manufacturing and marketing and the first pop-up toaster named the Toastmaster which was released in 1926. The toasters in the 1930s were worth $25 which is equal to around $400 today.
The Bread Slicer
The toaster was popularized further when Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicer in 1930. He had started working on it back in 1912 and in 1928 the first sliced bread was sold. It was further made famous by Wonder Bread later in 1930. This popularized the toaster further and the sells of Strite’s toaster rocketed. The toaster was invented even before the sliced bread was sold.
By 1950s, technologically advanced toasters were in circulation that could even know the exact amount of time needed to toast the bread. In the 1960s, toasters were common in every household. In the 1980s, the toasters were made with wider slots and were made with plastics which were heat-resistant. This made the new toasters more durable and economical and therefore allowed for the production of 4-slice or even 6-slice bread toasters. In the 21st century, the toasters are now using microchips which are able to detect different types of baked foods.
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