If you have ever been to the Lightner Museum, you may have noticed a small exhibit, tucked away amidst hundreds of glass and porcelain figures of old fashioned toasters. Many overlook it, and some don’t even notice it. But, the small toaster exhibit on the second floor holds a special place in the hearts of our staff members, volunteers, and countless visitors.
So, through careful selection and polling of the Lightner’s wonderful staff and volunteers, we have completed an exciting…maybe even groundbreaking list and ranking of our top 8 toasters!
#8: Bersted, McGraw Electric Co., Booneville, MO
– Pretty generic toaster, to be honest. With the exception of its silver detailing, this particular toaster has no outstanding qualities, leaving our volunteers and staff pretty unimpressed, giving it approximately ZERO votes. Sorry McGraw Electric Company, but you really dropped the ball on this one.
#7: White Plastic, Black & Decker, Shelton
– Although this toaster may appear even more generic than the one in last place, this toaster received a fair amount of attention. It is one of our few modern toasters and is actually the only plastic toaster we have (points for originality). In fact, many of the individuals polled voted for this one because they actually own it!
#6: Westinghouse, Mansfield, OH, 1930’s
– This model is particularly impressive, and garnered a decent amount of attention. It was made back in the 1930s and still appears almost as good as new! What sets this toaster apart from the previous two is the method used to insert the bread into the machine. Its sides open up, resembling wings, so that the bread can be placed inside, and then closed back up. It’s the perfect piece for safe and comfortable bread toasting! Westinghouse definitely deserves a pat on the back for this one.
#5: Griddle, GE/Hotpoint, #149G23
-Behold, for our #5 contender is not just a toaster! Its also…drum roll please…A WAFFLE IRON.
Need I say more?
Look closely, you can just imagine all the breakfast sandwiches prepared in this little contraption.
#4: Small sliver and black “salt and pepper shaker” toaster
– Okay…so this isn’t exactly a real toaster. But that’s why it made the list! This tiny “toaster” is perfect for making a breakfast, if you like salt and pepper that is! So what if it’s not a functional toaster, its ADORABLE!
#3: Patent 1922; Star-rite Reversible by Fitzgerald
-This toaster is pretty impressive, and our volunteers and staff did not let this go unrecognized. It was made almost 100 years ago and is still in pretty good condition. It is the only one we have that actually allows you to see the toast being toasted (completely eliminating the burnt toast issue).
#2: Son Chief, Winstead, Conn., Series 680
– This piece is extremely popular among the Lightner Museum. It may seem fairly similar to our #6 spot because of the way it opens and closes. But what sets it apart is its sentimental value. Many of our staff and volunteers actually remember their parents having it in their house when they were growing up.
– Here it is…what we’ve all been waiting for: The Lightner Museum’s overwhelmingly favorite toaster!
#1: Edison Electric, Patent 1105230
Other than the fact that it is clearly a very beautiful machine, the small holes in the side allow the user to get a decent idea of how quickly the bread is toasting; two very important qualities. Its small, effective and just look at those coils!
The Leonard H. Baer Toaster Collection was given in the memory of Mr. Leonard H. Baer by his wife Mrs. Doris M. Baer and family.
Written by Emily Elizabeth Dietz who, ironically does not own a toaster of her own.
Photographed by Jennifer Jordan with her very own yellow Dualit toaster.