10 Historical Facts About Toasters

  1. The very first electric toaster was released to the public in Britain in 1893 from Crompton & Company. Not much is known about it other than it was not a very safe toaster. Why?
  2. Because safe metals filaments for the inside of toasters had not been invented yet. Such safe filaments, originally known as chromel and today known as nichrome, were patented in 1906 by Illinois inventor Albert Marsh.
  3. Just a couple of months after Albert Marsh’s chromel was patented, along comes George Schneider with the American Electric Heater Company. Schneider submitted the first U.S. patent for an electric toaster. It would seem that Schneider was familiar with Marsh’s invention.
  4. Early toasters were known to present a fire hazard, but in 1909 Frank Shailor with the General Electric company applied for a patent for what became the famous GE D-12 toaster. This toaster is often considered by historians to be the first successful toaster in the market place. But was it?
  5. The El Tosto toaster might be the first successful commerical toaster. It was sold in 1905 by Pacific Electric Heating and later by Hotpoint Electric. Eventually, General Electric bought out the Hotpoint folks.
  6. Then there was also the Simplex toaster sold as early as 1904. It was electric, but it was basically a flat griddle that plugged into the wall. Could this be considered a proper toaster? At least it did toast bread, but still, it was more like an early hot plate than what today we consider a true toaster.

  7. In 1913, the Copeman Electric Stove Company began selling the first toaster that toasted bread on both sides. In this case, the Copeman toaster rotated the bread so that one side was toasted, then the other side was toasted.
  8. In 1919, Charles Strite patented the first automatic pop-up toaster.
  9. In 1926, the Toastmaster 1-A-1 (from the Waters Genter Company) became the first commercially available pop-up toaster.
  10. There is an organization that studies the history of the toaster. It’s known as The Toaster Museum Foundation. Check out the site if you’d like to know more, and if you’d like to see tons of pictures of old-timey toasters.

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