Toasters are one of the most popular kitchen equipment in many countries. The issue of toasting bread in western and eastern societies has been addressed many years ago. However, the invention of the toaster dates back to 1893. However, the first toaster patented in the United States in 1905; the time when companies like General Electric, Kopman, and Westinghouse saw a huge market ahead of them.
With the advancement of technology and the emergence of some revolutionary innovations such as the use of electricity, people's lifestyles over time have changed completely. This great change can be seen in many aspects of life, from the processes of production, medicine, and agriculture to transportation.
One example of technological advancement in modern societies is the appearance of smart homes. Today, the brightness, temperature, and even ambient sound can be adjusted with just a simple control or even user voice. The massive investment of companies such as Apple, Google, and Amazon in the development and commercialization of smart home technologies is a good sign of the attractiveness of these innovations and inform us about their huge market.
However reaching this point has not been easy, and after almost a long time, this level of technical progress was reached. Consider today's kitchens; Programmable automatic cookers, dishwashers, and washing machines with adjustable water temperature and various programs for desired washing, low-consumption, and silent refrigerators and freezers, and many other small and large appliances that make life easier for consumers Imagine for a second you are in the past time and have to cook by making fire for first! It's even hard to even imagine!
Among the kitchen-related innovations, the toaster is one of the most common devices in many societies. In Iran, due to the food culture of the people and the relatively high interest in traditional bread, toasters are unlikely to use as common devices. However, in western and eastern societies, the use of automatic electric toasters is quite common and can even be claimed to be one of the most essential kitchen devices. But how was the toaster invented? What was the first toaster like and who invented it?
Studies reveal that baking bread began as a way to increase the shelf life of bread. This goes back to ancient Roman times when bread was kept on fire and baked. The concept of "toasting" is originated from the Latin word "Tostum" meaning surface burning or roasting. It is said that in the early Roman wars in Europe, they carried toast with them, and this led to the initial familiarity of the British with Roman toast and then, its arrival in the Americas.
Regardless of the origin of your bread, until the late nineteenth century, sliced bread was placed in a metal frame (which in recent years was made decoratively using shaped iron). They roasted it by holding it on the fire. This situation continued until electric toasters were born. The first electric toaster was invented by a Scottish inventor named Alan MacMasters.
In 1893, the McMasters designed their own device called the Eclipse Toaster. At the time, the primary technical problem with toasters was the production of a continuous, gradual heating element that could bake bread evenly. The filament lamps invented by Joseph Swan and Thomas Edison used vacuum tubes and were virtually unusable in toasters.
The McMasters built their machine with the idea of using electricity to heat bread and volunteered the help of a British company called Crompton, Stephen J. Cook & Company. However, this toaster had some other problems; its iron wires are melted many times and cause fire hazards for users. On the other hand, the use of electricity was not very common at that time and due to limited access to it, the product was not very popular.
In 1905, the heating element problem was solved by a young engineer named Albert Marsh. He used an alloy of nickel and chromium, later called nichrome. Nichrome had a higher heat resistance and, as a result, could reduce the risk of fire. Immediately after this unique invention, George Schneider used nichrome to make toasters. He filed his invention in June 1905 with the US Patent Office.
On July 17, 1906, his invention patented as "US 825938" which historically is considered as the first "US" patent with the subject of the toaster. The patent was filed in collaboration with Marsh and owned by American Electrical Heater.
During these years, competition for commercial toasters with the most select performance had reached its peak. The company that outperformed its competitors was General Electric. In 1909, the American tech company introduced the first commercial electric toaster called the D-12. The toaster was invented by Frank Shailor in July 1909. This petition, patented in February 1910 by the USPTO.
Assigned by General Electric with a patent number "US 950058," However, this invention was only baked one side of the bread at a time, and was not automatic. , The person has to wait and in the end, turn off the device manually.
The next development in toaster machines was done by a creative woman. Hazel Berger, in collaboration with her husband Lloyd Groff Copeman. They invented the first toaster with automatic bread-turning capability. After improving the device in 1915, they launched their automatic electric toaster through the Copeman Electric Stove Company. The competition between General Electric D-12, Westinghouse's innovative model, and Kopman's automatic toaster, in just five years, well illustrates the attractiveness of the US toaster market and the companies' desire to gain more of it.
It should be noted that another critical invention also contributed to the development of toasters. Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented the bread slicer in 1928. He first came up with the idea in 1912 and designed a device for it. The performance of the device was not pleasant, but he was not disappointed and tried again. The result of sixteen years of effort and innovation-led a machine that sliced and packed bread. On July 7, 1928, the Chillicothe Baking Company began selling sliced bread, which soon became popular. This popularity helped to further develop the toaster and its use.