Late last year, the Internet was abuzz over the Toaster Museum, an exhaustive online compendium (started by a German designer) of historical toasters from all over the world. If you haven’t seen it, you can waste a whole bunch of delicious minutes ogling hundreds of toasters, like a four-slice carousellike rotating version from 1930s Germany.
After that, I thought we could all go back to accepting toasters as a necessary but unglamorous part of our routine. But last week, toasters popped up again, this time in the form of futuristic toaster design concepts. The list includes two that burn text into the toast so you can read the morning news while eating, and an electric knife that when wiped over the bread magically turns it into toast.
Are toasters really worth putting this much thought into? The toaster has some history, predating the kitchen appliance boom of the ’50s (according to Wikipedia the first commercially successful toaster arrived in 1909). But unless it’s a toaster oven, all it does is crisp bread. I’ll admit I like to stand in front of my toaster in the morning (mostly to keep warm in my wind tunnel of a Victorian flat) and watch the orange glow transform my sourdough, but there are more remarkable appliances out there.
I can see the allure in its simplicity: The mechanics are basic and straightforward, and all it demands from the user is to plug it in and drop some bread inside. Or maybe it has just been a part of everyone’s daily life for so many years that over time it has warmed our hearts.
Perhaps in a hundred years there will be a George Foreman Grill Museum, though I’m not keeping my fingers crossed. Either way, this connection between man and toaster doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon, but if there was ever any conflict in my kitchen, my food processor knows I’ve got its back.