Golden-Brown Age of Toast
bread, there would be no toasters. It was about 6,000 years ago that
the Egyptians invented fluffy bread as we know it. Before that bread
was unleavened, flat and hard. Egyptian bakers somehow discovered
that kneading the dough with their feet made the dough rise because
of the natural yeasts between their toes. (It's believed that the
discovery of cheesemaking had a similar foot-note in history. Grilled
cheese, anyone?) This softer bread was so valued that Egyptian workers
were paid in bread at the end of the day, making them the first breadwinners.
came along soon after. Originally begun as a way of preserving bread,
toasting was very popular among the Romans who gave it its modern
name ("tostum" means scorching or burning) and spread toast
throughout its empire from Africa to Britain. Methods used in pre-electric
times involved direct flames or hot stones.
The first electric toaster appeared in 1909. It toasted one side at
a time and wasn't automatic when the toast
looked good to you, you pulled the plug. Ten years later, Charles
Strite finally invented the modern, timer-activated, pop-up toaster.
The innovation of pre-sliced bread from Wonder in 1930 advanced toasting
technology all the further consumers bought
1,200,000 toasters that year.
more information about the history of toasters, and dozens of pictures
of historic toasters, check out the excellent Toaster Museum webpage: