Drawing of a child seated at dining table and holding up a plate. Inset drawing also shows a woman placing toast on the child's plate.

Ad from Wisconsin Power & Light Company,
"Toast is good and does good"
From Five Hundred Representative Public Utility Advertisements, 1928
Public Utilities Advertising Association

Banner at top:

"Bread Is Your Best Food. Toasted ... It Is More Nourishing."

"Toast is good and does good"

Text in box reads:

"Your child's presence in health and happiness gives values to life which are immeasurable. By more attention to the proper food ... food that supplies a child's energy needs and safeguards his digestion ... many of the handicaps which are found among growing children can be lessened.

"Bread is good for children because it is nourishing and contains vitamins. Toasted, the fuel value of bread is increased. Important in the growth of a child is also development of teeth. Toast promotes training in mastication and exercise of the gums.

"Decide now to serve toast at every meal ... between meals ... or whenever the menu calls for bread. An electrical toaster enables you to serve toast crisp, piping hot, and fresh, right at the table.

Text to right of box reads:

"Electric Toaster $3.75

"Pay for it monthly with your electric bill

"One cent spent for electricity will heat an electric toaster for twenty minutes.

"Wisconsin Power & Light Company"

     Early electric toasters were rather ornate units intended to be used right at the dining table, rather than in a separate service area. As such, the toaster needed to be visually compatible with a coffee or tea service. The idea was to allow a hostess to entertain guests, or a mother to attend her child, without having to go to the kitchen to make toast. The appeal to parental conscience here is rather transparent.

     Electric toasters appeared soon after Albert L. Marsh's 1906 invention of a nickel-chromium wire. "Ni-Chrome" wire was ideal for use in heating elements, as it could be heated many times to a cherry-red incandescence without burning out. Nor did it require a vacuum in which to operate, like carbon lamp-filaments of the day.