Thursday, September 26, 2019

Civilization and Toasters

Toast, Toaster, Food, White Bread There are days I enjoy toast for breakfast instead of eating cereal.  Other days, I want a poached egg over toast so the egg yolk is runny and soaks into the seriously buttered bread so the flavors blend together.  I use my toaster to toast bread and bagels.

For the most part, bread was placed over a hot stone by an open fire to be toasted since at least Roman times.  Romans toasted their bread to help keep it longer and carried it with them as they conquered the world.  It is said the Romans learned how to toast bread from the Egyptians.  The word toast came from the Latin word "tostum" meaning to burn or scorch. Once people started using wood and coal burning stoves,  someone invented pyramid shaped tin and wire contraption they heated on the stoves to toast bread.

Electric toasters have only been around a bit over 100 years.  The first one came out in 1893 after a Scottish inventor created it and called it an "Eclipse Toaster."  In 1909, another person redid the toaster in the United States.  He patented his "D-12" toaster which was built and marketed by General Electric but it has a small problem.  The "D-12" toaster had a problem in that it only toasted one side of the bread at a time and someone had to stand next to it watching to turn the bread when toasted.  In addition, at this time, few homes had electricity so the use of the "D-12"was used only in restaurants.

Over the next few years, companies made small improvements such as the one who in 1913 made small adjustments to create a toaster that automatically flipped the bread so people no longer had to stand next to the toaster to turn bread.  but it wasn't until 1919 that Charles Strite invented the first pop-up electric toaster complete with a timer so no one had to watch it.  In 1926, another company readjusted a few things to improve it and marketed it as the Toastmaster. The Toastmaster was really the first toaster available to the public.  It was advertised as a machine designed to make perfect toast every time with no fuss, no muss, and no one watching.  This was true but only for the first slice of toast.  Subsequent pieces of toast ended up darker.

About the same time, other inventions came about that made it easier to make toast.  A man began working on a bread slicing machine in 1912 but it wasn't until 1928 he was able to market a machine that sliced and wrapped bread to keep it from getting stale.  A company in Missouri began marketing sliced bread as "Kleen Maid Sliced Bread" possibly the first sliced bread to hit the shelves.  In 1930, Wonder began marketing sliced bread nationwide and this created a need for the toaster because the bread fit perfectly in the slots.  Prior to the development of the commercial bread slicer, people had to carefully slice bread so the slices would fit in the toaster slots.

Since then, improvements have only made the toaster better.  Improvements such as the microchip, which made it possible for the toaster to measure the amount of moisture in different breads and heat them to the proper temperature.  Another important development was the creation of heat resistant plastics that could replace the metal making toasters lighter and more portable.  In addition, it opened the way for different colored toasters.  Small adjustments continued to be made to toasters so they would toast either bread or bagels.

I own a toaster that will do bagels or toast but I have to be careful how thick I cut my home made bread or it won't fit into the toaster correctly.  Let me now what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.


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