When was the toaster invented? This question regarding the very first commercially successful electric toaster is something that people have often pondered. We tend to see something as simple as an electric toaster as a relatively new phenomenon, providing us with an easy way to toast bread. However, the truth is something a bit different.
The First Electric Toaster
The first electric toaster was invented way back in the 1890s in Edinburgh by an individual named Alan MacMasters, so it’s a pretty old invention. However, the first model couldn’t toast bread the same way as our more modern pop-up toaster does.
This original electric toaster was only capable of toasting bread on one side at a time, but it was still a huge leap forward in technology compared to using fire for toasting bread.
The idea of being able to toast sliced bread then started to appear not only in other parts of the UK but also in the United States. Also known as an eclipse toaster, the original model was definitely functional, but the road to our modern automatic pop-up toasters was still long!
All in all, the first electric bread toaster certainly appeared way before people expected, considering that many homes had not had electricity for long.
The problem with these early electric toasters was that people would not pay enough attention. So, instead of having toasted sliced bread, people would tend to end up burnt that it resembled charcoal. But at least, these initial mishaps led to improvements in technology.
The First Improvements in Electric Toasters
Now that you know the answer to “When was the toaster invented?” let’s take a look at how the electric toaster evolved.
The eclipse toaster saw various stages in its evolution over the following 20 years. In 1906, George Schneider, who worked for the American electrical heater company, obtained a patent for a new toaster that used a better heating element than the original version.
This was then replaced in 1909 with another patent launched by General Electric, who created a new version with a new metal frame designed by Frank Shailor. This model, known as the D-12, became the first version deemed a commercial success.
It wasn’t until 1913 that the need to manually flip the bread came to an end with a model created by the Copeman Electric Stove Company. With their automatic bread turner version, you no longer had to remove the toast: this was viewed as a major success compared to early toasters, where you could only toast one side at a time.
The First Pop-Up Toaster
The first pop-up toaster had its original patent granted back in 1921, and it was all thanks to an individual by the name of Charles P. Strite. Based in Minneapolis, he became fed up with receiving burnt toast when at work, so he then invented something that would become known as Strite’s toaster.
The difference with this first toaster was it had a heating element on either side. That meant it no longer had to only toast one side of the bread at a time. Instead, this toaster had heating elements on both sides that could brown bread in more of an even manner.
But that wasn’t the only change. When this new toaster was invented, a timer that made the toast pop up when ready was also included. That meant the heating element didn’t have the opportunity to burn the bread slices.
This change in toaster design was a huge change. Not long after, it became a contender for the most common household appliance in the United States.
The Advance of the Modern Toaster
The modern automatic pop-up toaster had come a long way from the time when the electric toaster was invented.
Nowadays, you have smart toasters and toaster ovens, so modern toasters have definitely evolved even from the first automatic toaster.
One major breakthrough was not so much the idea of multiple toasting at one time but the appearance of the bread slicer. The Chillicothe Baking Company launched this, and it transformed the toasting process.
Now, you could have thick slices or thin slices, and they would all be the same size. It meant bread was more uniform, so companies could design toasters that could have up to six slots, as they knew the bread would fit.
Since then, the toaster has taken on different designs thanks to the use of heat resistant plastics, also leading to new styles. Heat resistant plastics offered more opportunities to add colours to the design of the toaster, so your bread would look pretty cool in a redesigned version.
Now, the toaster oven allows you to cook frozen pastries, and automatic toasters make it almost impossible for you to go ahead and burn your bread. Unless that’s how you like it, at which point it all comes down to how you set the toaster.
Enjoy Your Breakfast Toast!
And that is the history of the development of the toaster. As you can see, it has been around for longer than even pre-sliced bread, and there were versions before pop-up toasters came onto the scene. Now, almost everyone has a household toaster. We take them for granted, but at least we don’t have to put up with constantly burnt toast like the original versions!
So, if you are wondering about who invented the toaster, then the answer is that several people did, owing to minor improvements in toaster technology year by year. Because they worked hard to perfect the trusty kitchen appliance so that we don’t have to use an open fire to make our everyday breakfast toast.