We Are Toasted With the collection of hundreds of toasters!
Come see them at Not Just Antiques Mart at 1422 Western Avenue, Las Vegas, NV
With electricity in the home meant that a brash of otherwise difficult tasks could be solved rather simply. One could sip a cup of coffee brewed in an electric pot and read by lamplight till the wee hours. Even an electric grill and chafing dish were commonplace in the electrified kitchen around the turn of the century. But alas, toasting bread still required an oven, open flame, and any number of antiquated devices used to suspend bread over heat.
|Perhaps the most singular aspect of the toaster’s conception was that there was not a dominant form for it to take. Irons, coffee pots, grills and the like all had non-electric shapes and styles that easily transferred to electrical applications, but the toaster was something else. Picture iron contraptions with long handles and slots for holding slices of bread, or spit-like doodads that hold the bread horizontally over the fire as you turn it. Such was toast’s reputation and versatility that despite the evident difficulty in producing it, folk just couldn’t live without the crunchy, slightly sweetened flavor of heated bread slices.Some Simple Physics
When a light bulb heats up, it is in an enclosed vacuum, enabling it to immediately resist electricity and illuminate the surroundings. A toaster works similarly in that electricity is resisted in metal coils, but because of the intended use, operating in a vacuum isn’t an option. How would you get the toast next to the coils? In England, around 1893, the original toaster was invented, along with a small electrical space heater. Iron coils heated up, toasted you or your bread, and then would eventually start a fire, rust up, or melt.
So the hunt was on for a metal that resisted electrical conductivity to the point that its heat would toast bread, but was flexible and durable enough to last over repeated use. A tall order at the turn of a century, considering light bulbs can’t last nearly as long as a functional toaster would require.
A Toast to Mr. Marsh
But in 1905, Albert Marsh, a young go-getter with real flair in the kitchen (we assume), devised an alloy of nickel and chromium which provided all of the above. A patent appeared shortly after, but it is not certain that this one was produced. By 1909, General Electric’s Frank Shailor submitted his patent for a clever, yet obviously primitive device, which suspended a slice of bread on either side of four nickel/chromium coils. When the bread reached your desired brownness, you flipped them. Handy, but forget about taking a shower while your breakfast prepares itself. (from Toaster.com)