A toaster is one of the kitchen’s essential appliances that you cannot live without. It performs basic cooking purposes such as baking and heating.
No one walks inside a typical kitchen without this timeless appliance that has its features improved throughout the time to blend with the changing taste and adjust to the changing lifestyles of people. Moreover, some manufacturers even offered customized services to appeal to most consumers. Even offices are in need of toasters for their kitchen, and manufacturers are surely taking note of how their toasters are designed specifically to be accommodated in the limited space of an office pantry.
But where did the invention of toaster originated? To whom do we owe this essential appliance?
Today, we will backtrack throughout history to learn more about this indispensable appliance. As you will read through this, you will learn significant events in history that led to the modern toaster. You will learn where the toaster originated from, even way back before the world wars. You will see who invented it first and who actually significantly improved it. We also wrote about how the toaster evolved throughout time, introducing different features to keep up with the changing times and needs of the people.
What is a toaster?
The toaster’s meaning is universal. It is also called as a toaster maker. It is a small appliance operated by electricity or gas. Its purpose exposes bread slices to radiant heat, therefore converting it into a toast. The toaster’s definition is heavily dependent on heating bread and toasting bread. Toasters are the easiest appliance to operate as you are merely to insert bread slices into the slots on the top of a pop-up toaster. Toasters are convenient for making breakfast especially during weekdays because one has to rush and go. It usually cooks bread in mere minutes with its sophisticated heating elements.
Most people prefer two types of toasters such as the pop-up toaster and the toaster oven. Throughout the years, it has developed to incorporate other functions such as featuring an automatic mechanism. An automatic mechanism would pop the slice up when it’s done toasting.
These days, one could manage the toaster easily because there is a control panel where you could adjust the preferred heating for your bread. Most toasters come with a hinged door that you could open to place your food on the rack. There are heating elements above and below the grilling area that will cook the food. Toaster ovens work just like a conventional oven, but it features more advanced settings for temperature control.
The evolution of the toaster
The toaster’s history has been traced back in the Roman times where heating bread has been part of the typical everyday breakfast. The word toaster originated from the Latin word “tostum,” which means scorched or toasted. The Romans traveled and conquered many kingdoms and lands in Europe. With colonization, they incorporated their tradition of heating bread into their colonies. Toasting bread became an indispensable nature of culture in the west.
The British, most particularly, developed this allure of heating bread. They, in turn, introduced this practice to the Americans as time progressed.
Alan MacMasters, a Scottish scientist, invented the pioneering electric bread toaster from around early 1880s to early 1890s. He developed it with Crompton, Stephen J. Cook & Company as the Eclipse. It wasn’t an immediate success, but it became the benchmark for the next revolutionary invention in the toaster industry.
Who invented the pop toaster and which year?
The first electric toaster originated from General Electric Company in 1909. Ten years later, it was enhanced by Charles Strite, a mechanic from Minnesota, who introduced the pop-up toaster in 1920. This easy-to-use toaster has been distributed to restaurants. Charles Strite received the patent for his invention by 1921. He then went on to find his own company, the Waters-Genter Company.
In 1926, the Toastmaster was manufactured by Charles Strite. This enhanced version introduced the automatic pop-up slice toaster. He called it the Toastmaster and became a household name from then until now.
More versions have been introduced
By 1930s, the pre-sliced bread has been introduced. This was manufactured by the Continental Baking Company that helped raise the sales of Strite’s toaster. People were not buying loaves anymore, but they still needed to heat it, so toasters’ sales began soaring again.
By 1960s, toasters have become a staple in the household because it has become affordable. During the pioneering years around 1930s, buying a toaster would cause a fortune because it costed around $393 as an equivalent amount in 2010. But as the time progressed, its prices dropped. The affordable prices opened to bigger markets. It has also been manufactured smaller in size to adjust to the average kitchen size.
In the 1970s, manufacturers introduced customized toasters. Consumers can now choose from a variety of options. There are toasters that are painted or wooden. Some of the most popular ones come in vibrant colors. People can purchase toasters that complement with their kitchen’s color, style, and design. Most of them even hire an interior designer to guarantee that they will be buying the right pieces.
Manufacturing toasters have greatly evolved as people tend to vary in tastes. The features have significantly improved to adjust to consumer’s needs. The toasters now have features wider slots to accommodate bagels and thicker slices of bread. The housing now is comprised of heat-resistant plastic. Other toasters also feature 4-slice slots and even 6-slice slots. It has become economical and has been widely distributed.
Currently, toasters come in more options. You can choose from various sizes, colors, and types depending on your needs. You can now purchase a simple metallic toaster or a 6-slice toaster which can accommodate various slices if your household has many members. Buying a toaster is not that expensive anymore because you can purchase a toaster with a tight budget.
Toasters will continue to evolve
Just like culture and technological products, kitchen appliances will continue to evolve over the years to suit the market’s needs and preferences. From the brilliant mind of Alan MacMasters, Charles Strite was able to build on it and has invented a more convenient feature for the toaster, the pop-up toaster.
Toasting is people’s indispensable routine every morning. We should be grateful for the pioneers of invention and the legacy that we are benefiting from. Toasters used to be a luxury good, but it has now become a necessity. Because of its mass production and mass consumption, its prices dropped without doing away with its purpose, which is heating bread and other pastries. It has also improved its features for easy navigation and temperature control.
Manufacturing toasters has also become customer-oriented as they introduce a variety of options that will suit with a customer’s personality from vibrant colors of the exterior to the specific features that a customer would surely be fascinated about. Its size has also been manufactured to fit into the kitchens and not create a nuisance.
There is so much more to the toaster industry that we should watch out for especially that more and more households in the world are raising higher standards when it comes to appliances.