Vintage Toastmaster Toaster are a sought after collector item by toaster aficionado. The brand Toasmaster was originally owned by McGraw Electric. It was founded by 17 year old Max Mcgraw and initially got his start by converting houses from gas to electric. With his Father, they slowly expanded the business to start selling mill, railroad/electrical equipment. In 1926, McGraw Electric purchased Bersted Manufacturing. They specialized in small appliances such as electric waffle irons. The company then switched hands a number of times quite comically. However what was important is that during this era, they invented the first Pop up Toaster.
The First Pop Up Toaster
The first popup toaster was known as Toastmaster Model 1-A-1. Unlike modern toaster, this model was a lot more complicated to use. There were two levers. One lever controls the amount of time the toaster will work. The other lever lowers the bread and starts the current. Each model were a little different and you would have to time it correctly for it for your preferred brownness. Despite this, it was a huge success and launched the Toastmaster brand.
Vintage Toastmaster Toaster 1B14 Review Quick Summary
|Colors||Chrome and Copper|
|Power||110-120 volt at 10.5 amps: 1260 Watts|
|Place of Manufacturer||USA|
|Thoughts||The Toastmaster Toaster 1b14 is a piece of America History. It was built to last and still performs just as well if not better than today’s toaster. If you plan on purchasing a used model, just be aware that you might have to replace the wire. Also some model supposedly comes with abestos.|
|Modern Equivalent||Toastmaster TM-43TS 4 Slice Toaster, Stainless Steel|
Throughout the years, Toastmaster continued to release many different toaster. Perhaps one of the most iconic model is the Toastmaster 1B14. At its time of release, the 1B14 had a whopping price tag of 23 dollars. In today money, that same toaster would cost over 200 dollars. A lot for a simple toaster. Nevertheless, it was a hit. New York times called the toaster “absolutely the end-all-and-be-all toaster there ever was.” It featured an internal temperature gauge that measures the temperature of the unit instead of a timed mechanism. This ensures that your toast will come out the same darkness level regardless of the toast.
Rival Sunbeam T20
It was during this time, the sunbeam came out with their own toaster, the Sunbeam T20. What was different about this model was that it automatically lowered and raised the toast. Like the 1b14, it had a internal thermometer that measured how dark the toast was. Toast lover had a hard time deciding between the two toaster, but ultimately loved both of them. The sunbeam t20 still commands a very strong price. No doubt thanks to a youtuber by the name Technology connection. His video had almost a million views and the demand for it skyrocketed. Expect to spend around 70-100 dollar for this very same toaster today.
No love for the Toastmaster 1b14
Because there were no youtuber or trending video online that talked about how great this toaster was, you can still have this toaster for a relatively affordable price. And if you look at its history, there were some very interesting features to note. One such thing was the inclusion of Asbestos.
Asbestos with your toast?
During the 1950, asbestos was not known as the cancer causing agent that it is today. It was in your house, your car, and even your toaster. Luckily, not all model was afflicted by this. Somewhere down the line, Toastmaster changed insulator to a mica insulator. Based on a blog that I found, he stated to id between the two insulation, you would need to prod it. The mica insulator would come off as a translucent flake. The Asbestos version would crumble and resemble the interior of a cardboard shoe box.
Vintage Toastmaster Toaster Copper 1b14
Given the success of the 1b14, it would make sense that they would make a special limited version. Instead of the metal chrome finish, they covered the toaster in Copper. It was a failure… If you think about the choice to plate it in copper, it was a bad choice all around. First of all, copper is an excellent conductor of heat. Meaning that the already hot body of the toaster, will just burn your hand better. Secondly, copper tarnished with use and consumers thought it was defective. If it wasn’t return, it was discarded. Finding one these days are getting increasingly rare. Luckily for me, I found one. Although to my dismay, the previous owner kept trying to clean it with a rag and it is now covered in scratches. When I have the time, I will try to bring back its mirror finish.
So why plate it in copper? Well copper is linked with the French cooking. The high end French kitchen of the time are always lined with copper pots and pans. Wrapping things with that same copper will attract consumers who are looking for a higher grade of equipment. This trend continues today. Brands like Kitchenaid or Cuisinart will release a limited edition that is coated in Copper. Although often time those are just electroplated and not real copper.
General Construction and Specs
The build quality is something that just isn’t seen today. The body itself is comprised entirely of metal. Only the handles and switches is made out of Bakelite. It is heavy especially compared with today’s toaster. The power cord is a braided cloth cord, something that was common in the 1950’s Overtime cloth can degrade and can be replaced. However, if you want to retain its collectible, I advise against doing it. In terms of power, it uses 110-120 volt at 10.5 Amps. Which means that the max wattage is at 1260 watts. Quite a bit for a toaster.
Vintage Toastmaster Toaster Thoughts
Overall, the Toastmaster 1b14 is an amazing example of what a toaster should be. It was built during a time where quality was more important than price. You can still purchase these toaster on Ebay for a relatively affordable price. However, just be aware that it might have some issues in regards to its powercord. Today, Toastmaster is still around, and you can find the modern version of their toaster at amazon. Just dont expect it to be the same quality. The only thing that might actually come close is the one by Breville.
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