The Physics
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Power of a Toaster

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Classic Toasters: 40s and 50s. Toaster Central. "Dominion Electric Corporation, Mansfield, Ohio, USA Model No. 1109 A-8, 110-120 Volts 450 Watts" 450 W
"Sunbeam model T-20 automatic toaster… Sunbeam Corporation, Chicago, USA Toronto, Canada., 110-120 Volts, 1275 Watts" 1275 W
"Toastmaster commercial model 1BB4 automatic pop-up toaster… Manufactured by McGraw Electric Company, Toastmaster Products Division Elgin, Illinois USA 110 Volts 1225 Watts" 1225 W
Classic Toasters: the 1930s. Toaster Central. "Toastmaster 1B5 two-slice automatic pop-up… Produced July 1934 until June 1936 by McGraw Electric Company, Water-Genters Div. Mpls, Minn. USA, 120 Volts 1200 Watts" 1200 W
"Sunbeam model T-9 automatic pop-up… This one is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Sunbeam Corporation Chicago USA Toronto, Canada, 110-120 Volts 1100 Watts." 1100 W
"1939 Superstar Toastrite automatic pop-up… Superstar Toastrite made in N.Y.C., USA, 115 Volts 575 Watts." 575 W
Classic Toasters: the 1920s. Toaster Central. "Westinghouse Turnover Toaster… Turnover Toaster S-NO-284032A Westinghouse E.& M. Co. East Pittsburgh, PA. Volts 100/120 Watts-550." 550 W
"Universal model E9410 push-button toaster… Universal --"The Brand Name Known In Every Home", Landers, Frary & Clark, New Britain, Conn. USA 108-116 Volts, 525 Watts" 525 W
"Toastmaster model 1-A-1 automatic pop-up toaster… Produced from June 1926 to August 1930 by Waters-Genter Co. Minneapolis, USA 110 Volts 600 Watts" 600 W
Bottom of a Hamilton Beach Toaster. "Model 22559, Series:B3320BI, Type T31 Toaster 120V~65Hz 850W" 850 W
How Much Electricity Does [sic] Your Appliances Use? Boone Electric Cooperative 1999.
Appliance Typical Wattage Estimated Average Cost
Toaster 1146 1¢/4 servings
1146 W

Toast is made when bread is heated to at least 154.4 degrees C. Once this temperature is reached, the Maillard reaction begins and all the starches and sugars begin to caramelize.

This effect used to be achieved by placing bread in iron holders and placing over an open flame or hearthstone. This method became tedious. When the first electric kitchen was unveiled it was still lacking a toaster.

In 1905 Albert Marsh developed Nichrome. This is a type of filament which is made of 20% nickel and 80% chromium. This substance is silver-grey in color and has a melting point of 1800 degrees C. This is so because it has a very high resistance therefore allowing it to operate at very high temperatures.

In 1909 General Electric developed the first toaster called D-12. It placed the nichrome in a casing with slots that would fit bread to be toasted. The first model didn't have a thermostat so the toast often came out burnt. In 1919 advancements were made and Charles Strite developed the pop-up toaster that had a timer which would engage a mechanism to pop up the toast when it was finished so it would no longer burn.

Further advancements were made in 1925 when the Toastmaster company patented a toaster that could brown both sides of the bread simultaneously. In 1980 a toaster was developed that had wide enough slots to toast bagels and thick bread. It also had heat resistant plastic and microchip controls which made toasters more economically efficient than ever before. Toaster in the US can operate at 103-120 Volts producing anywhere from 500-1500 Watts of power.

Meaghan Fondiller -- 2004