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Every Tea Room needs a toaster topic...

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Robin Graham08/02/2019 22:41:54
907 forum posts
277 photos

Rooting through stuff I've hoarded but now need to dispose of I came across  an electric toaster:

img_1931(1).jpg

Research tells me that humankind had been looking for a solution to the thorny problem of toasting bread by electricity since the late C19, but it was only with the invention of Nichrome in 1905 that it became a possibility. It seems that Copeman invented a 'hands off' way of flipping the slice in 1913, but I haven't yet found a detailed description of his toaster. The one in in the picture works on a sort of 'nudge it and let gravity do its thing' principle.

I'd be interested if anyone could place this in the history of domestic appliances before I bin it.

Robin

Edited By Robin Graham on 08/02/2019 22:42:56

Edited By Robin Graham on 08/02/2019 22:43:30

Edited By Robin Graham on 08/02/2019 22:45:07

Michael Gilligan08/02/2019 23:01:27
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19601 forum posts
997 photos

Here you go, Robin: **LINK**

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/publicationDetails/originalDocument?CC=GB&NR=191327113A&KC=A&FT=D&ND=3&date=19141119&DB=EPODOC&locale=en_EP

MichaelG.

Hopper09/02/2019 00:31:36
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5508 forum posts
137 photos

Looks like the ones I remember in use when I was a lad in the 1960s. So they probably dated back to the 1950s as things never wore out and people never threw things away in those days.

ISTR you have to flip the side down rather quickly for the automatic flip function to work.

More clearly I remember well the sound of the edge of a knife scraping the charcoal off slices of burnt toast into the sink in the morning. Pretty much a daily occurrence before pop-up toasters saved the world.

Clive Foster09/02/2019 00:49:38
2990 forum posts
105 photos

Like Hopper I have fond memories of scraped, de-charcoaled, toast when I were a lad. Sunday treat only in our household tho'.

Similar style of toaster to that in the picture, albeit a gold-bronze colour, and also allegedly capable of flipping the toast over automatically. Which I never knew it to do successfully. Getting the manual change-over moment and time per side just right for proper, evenly through crisped toast was an art form.

Figuring out the best setting on a modern pop up doesn't seem much easier.

Clive.

Maurice09/02/2019 02:39:25
469 forum posts
50 photos

You may wish to use some of its bits. A friend has a gas fired vertical boiler. He has small open coils of element wire suspended in the gas flame. This glows red hot and provides radiant heat, which is absent from a blue gas flame. He says that it boils quicker and steams better. I have not seen a demonstration of this, but it seems reasonable.

Maurice

Hopper09/02/2019 05:22:13
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5508 forum posts
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You should hang on to it, just incase you ever want to build a life-size recreation of Burt Munro's "Worlds fastest Indian" workshop. (See background just over Burt's left shoulder.) Handily located next to the trusty Myford so toasted Vegemite sandwiches could be made while taking long cuts on motorcycle cylinders etc.

burt-munro-at-home-1970.jpg

Mick B109/02/2019 08:23:24
2084 forum posts
121 photos
Posted by Clive Foster on 09/02/2019 00:49:38:

....

Figuring out the best setting on a modern pop up doesn't seem much easier.

Clive.

Of course it isn't.

Even the cheapest modern popups boast 'browning control', but that's mostly just b0110cks. The toaster underbrowns the first 2 slices from a cold start, than burns the next 2 from warm.

I suppose now there'll be some fancy smart toasters with electronics reading the albedo of the toast during cooking, but they'll cost you a bomb and probably log on to your home network and report your breakfast preferences and detailed personal data profiles to some multinational outfit or other.

So I'll just take my chances and keep trying to outthink my dumb toaster. laugh

roy entwistle09/02/2019 08:59:42
1459 forum posts

It always tasted better done in front of an open coal fire. Or does one think it did ?

Roy

Clive India09/02/2019 09:17:33
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213 forum posts
Posted by roy entwistle on 09/02/2019 08:59:42:

It always tasted better done in front of an open coal fire. Or does one think it did ? Roy

Roy, I think it did if you added the dripping.

I'm surprised nobody has come up with the real solution - a round coke stove in the corner of the workshop with chimney out the top. You can make REAL toast with that - finished to your own requirements. Get one before someone starts adding microprocessors to them! smiley

Speedy Builder509/02/2019 09:36:39
2501 forum posts
196 photos

Still use our old toaster - its got an earth wire and the installation has a couple of RCDs (french supply starts off with a 60Ma RCD) and our 30Ma RCD in the fuse box. Its had a new element, and a new cable, a new plug, but its the original toaster !

Russell Eberhardt09/02/2019 09:43:51
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2726 forum posts
86 photos

If it's still working, keep it. They were much more versatile than the ususal pop-up type. They will toast tea cakes, crumpets, etc., that won't fit in the slot of a modern toaster.

Russell

roy entwistle09/02/2019 10:34:48
1459 forum posts

Clive Who eats toast without dripping ? I thought that was illegal,

Roy

Mike Poole09/02/2019 11:01:23
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3168 forum posts
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Using the grill will toast whatever you want to your preference works as long as you can concentrate for a few minutes, the smoke alarm will alert you that the toast is overdone for most tastes.

Mike

ega09/02/2019 11:09:27
2402 forum posts
196 photos
Posted by Hopper on 09/02/2019 05:22:13:

You should hang on to it, just incase you ever want to build a life-size recreation of Burt Munro's "Worlds fastest Indian" workshop. (See background just over Burt's left shoulder.) Handily located next to the trusty Myford so toasted Vegemite sandwiches could be made while taking long cuts on motorcycle cylinders etc.

burt-munro-at-home-1970.jpg

I loved the book which I think was just "The Fastest Indian"; apparently, he started life as Bert and later adopted the US spelling.

Amazing what can be done with a "crappy Myford"!

Hopper09/02/2019 11:13:48
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5508 forum posts
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Posted by Mike Poole on 09/02/2019 11:01:23:

Using the grill will toast whatever you want to your preference works as long as you can concentrate for a few minutes, the smoke alarm will alert you that the toast is overdone for most tastes.

Mike

Actually it's a funny thing about toast and some fire alarms. There is something in the fumes that come off toast that will set off fire alarms before the toast even starts to smoke. I know this from some years of being a night shift engineer in a hospital where nurses would try to sneak a toaster into their work station and cook toast in the wee hours instead of using the kitchen. Gave them a hell of a wake up call when the alarms went off building-wide, the fire department arrived and myself and fire chief would have to sight the offending fire sensor and ascertain cause of alarm. Usually the lingering smell of toast and the petrified expressions on the responsible nurses' face was a giveaway.

Hopper09/02/2019 11:19:37
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5508 forum posts
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Posted by ega on 09/02/2019 11:09:27:
Posted by Hopper on 09/02/2019 05:22:13:

You should hang on to it, just incase you ever want to build a life-size recreation of Burt Munro's "Worlds fastest Indian" workshop. (See background just over Burt's left shoulder.) Handily located next to the trusty Myford so toasted Vegemite sandwiches could be made while taking long cuts on motorcycle cylinders etc.

burt-munro-at-home-1970.jpg

I loved the book which I think was just "The Fastest Indian"; apparently, he started life as Bert and later adopted the US spelling.

Amazing what can be done with a "crappy Myford"!

I liked the bit where he enlarged the gap in the bed with a hacksaw to accommodate the Indian's longstroke flywheels. There is a new book out on him recently, a series of "lost" interviews with him done back in the 60s but the reporter never published them until his lost notebooks were found by family just recently. The story in the movie and associated book was just the tip of the iceberg when you read about some of his other antics.

I knew a woman who was once a cadet photographer at Burt's local newspaper and used to photo Burt/Bert every year before he went to Bonneville. She reckoned he was every bit as crusty as this photo suggests. Slept in a bed in his workshop, with a tarp over it because the roof leaked. Reckons he had a pot of stew bubbling on a burner in the corner that he just added a bit to every day to keep it going. She reckoned it was the same stew bubbling away every year she took his photo for the paper.

But with that "crappy Myford" he did some amazing stuff. Not just machining his own pistons, heads and barrels but also converting the Indian from single cam to double or quad cam configuration - some major surgery.

Edited By Hopper on 09/02/2019 11:21:45

Ian S C09/02/2019 11:23:04
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7468 forum posts
230 photos

Our first toaster was a bit more streamlined than the one in the Bert Monro photo, trying to think of the make, possibly Necco, or Zipp, it would have been made in NZ, we would have got it about 1958/59, I think it lasted into the 1980s, I don't think it ever had a new element, the policy in our house was just fix the old one, if you lose an inch of heating wire it doesn't seem to matter. I did a similar repair on the pop up about twenty years ago(it was about ten years old then), and its still going strong. One thing with the old ones was that they had only one element, where as a pop up has three.

Ian S C

ega09/02/2019 11:54:00
2402 forum posts
196 photos

Hopper:

Fascinating stuff about a genuine Australian eccentric.

More on topic, anyone who followed the Dinner Ladies sitcom will remember the central role played by the catering toaster in the canteen kitchen where, I fear, low fat spread was preferred to dripping. The temperamental device was ministered to by another eccentric called Stan who would have felt quite at home here.

John Harding09/02/2019 12:18:22
31 forum posts

This style was around in the mid 50's. The flat top was probably intended for keeping toast warm. But with the top the same width as the base meant the toaster could be turned on its side to make a toasted cheese sandwich, it required caution.. Try that with a pop-up.

JH

Mike Poole09/02/2019 12:35:53
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Moderator
3168 forum posts
72 photos

The homemade grills and toasters that were created in the factory maintenance workshops were usually potential death traps and fire risks, they usually used the old style electric fire element in a ceramic slab as the heat source lashed into a sheet steel box. PAT testing has seen most of these contraptions consigned to the bin so perhaps the world is now a slightly safer place.

Mike

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