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© McCord Museum
Electric toaster
1920-1940, 20th century
18.8 x 26 x 12 cm
Gift of the Estate of Mrs. E. T. (Helen) Renouf
© McCord Museum


In the 1920s and 1930s, many ads touted the advantages of an array of new electrical appliances meant to lighten the housekeeping burden of the "modern" woman. The automatic electric toaster was one of those revolutionary devices.

Before the advent of electricity, bread was toasted on the hearth or on a wood or gas stove, using forks, grilles or other implements. Then, in the early 20th century, the first toasters became available. They were not electric, however, and did not pop the toast up automatically. The invention of the automatic electric toaster is attributed to an American, Charles Strite, of Minnesota. It was not mass produced until the late 1920s, however.

The lines of this toaster are typical of the Art Deco movement, and more particularly the streamlined style inspired by the fluid, aerodynamic shape of airplanes that was in vogue in the 1930s. Homes with Art Deco style electrical appliances and accessories became common at this time. Characterized by their simplicity and functionality, these appliances were first designed for the kitchen and bathroom.

© Musée McCord Museum