What hath toast wrought?

During the 1920s, Americans bought more than a million electric toasters, usually for use right on the breakfast table. Early electric toasters browned only one side at a time and required users to watch, flip, and then remove each slice. The automatic toaster debuted in 1926; it toasted both sides and popped up the finished slice. 

Kalorik toaster advertisement

Kalorik toaster advertisement

“Make electric helpers do all your tiresome, beauty-consuming tasks.”

— Ad for General Electric appliances, 1920s

Toastmaster toaster, 1920s
Toastmaster toaster, 1920s
Salesman in Hood River, Oregon, 1926. Courtesy of Pacific Power Corp.

Salesman in Hood River, Oregon, 1926. Courtesy of Pacific Power Corp.

Utility companies went door to door peddling electric toasters, percolators, egg boilers, waffle irons, and even grills for tabletop breakfasts—in order to sell more electricity. They promised that "each electrical outlet in your home is a potential source of comfort and leisure."

Sliced Kleen Maid Bread advertisement

Sliced Kleen Maid Bread advertisement

In the 1920s, the growing obsession with toast—and saving time—found expression in sliced bread. The Chillicothe Baking Co. in Missouri offered the first machine-cut loaves to local customers in 1928.

Wonder-Cut Bread button reading,

Wonder-Cut Bread button reading, "feel it...it's fresh!"

In 1930, Continental Baking introduced Wonder-Cut Bread nationwide.