Curator's Corner Blog

The Modern Miracle of the Electric Toaster

Downton Abbey fans might remember a humorous moment early in this season, when Mrs. Hughes, the head housekeeper, brings home an electric toaster. She plugs the contraption into a socket in her room and proceeds to happily burn her first piece of bread in the pursuit of toast.

Mrs. Hughes Toaster gif


Carson, the head butler, distrusts this electric toaster as much as he distrusted the telephone when it first came to Downton, but the electric toaster provided a convenience that was part of the modern era. A pamphlet in the collection of the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula describes how one could make toast right at the breakfast table instead of standing over the stove — “Crisp hot toast made before your eyes. On the dining room table — or where there is an electric light outlet — just as you like it.”

This advertisement for the GE Radiant Toaster was printed sometime between 1908 and 1917, just as the first successful electric toasters were coming onto the market. Missoulians may have been as excited as Mrs. Hughes about trying these new contraptions, and after 1908, they had ready access to the electricity necessary to power the devices, too.

While electricity had been in Missoula since the late 19th century, it took the construction of the Milltown (formerly Clark) Dam in 1905-08 to provide the city with reliable power for its street cars, street lights and, of course, toasters.

The toasters in the Historical Museum at Fort Missoula’s collection date from the 1920s and 30s, when most urban homes had reliable power and many different companies were manufacturing toasters for home use.

Though the design has changed, the mechanism for toasting bread has remained remarkably consistent over the years. Electric current heats coils of metal wire, which turn your bread a toasty brown (while “not drying it hard as a bone,” as the Radiant Toaster ad boasted).

For most of the ‘teens and ’20s, electric toasters looked like this:

Place the bread in the little door, close, then toast until done. This is the Marion Giant Flipflop, called such because you “flipflopped” the bread once one side was toasted to get the other side done. These models don’t appear to have an on/off switch – you had to unplug the machine to turn it off – which must have made life more interesting!

About The Collections Department

We live and breathe the collection. It is our job to know the who’s, what’s, where’s, and why’s of the thousands of artifacts placed into our care. What you see on display at a museum doesn’t even scratch the surface of what’s stored in the basement.

235 thoughts on “The Modern Miracle of the Electric Toaster


    I actually had been exploring for suggestions for my personal blog site and uncovered ur post, “The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

  2. Pingback: Replica Oakley Sunglasses

  3. torradeira

    I have learn a few good stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for
    revisiting. I surprise how so much effort you put to make such a magnificent
    informative website.

  4. Pingback: dolce gabbana handbags

  5. Pingback: uggs outlet online

  6. Pingback: tory burch outlet stores

  7. Pingback: uggs outlet stores

  8. Pingback: burberry outlet

  9. Pingback: kevin durant shoes

  10. Pingback: furla candy bag

  11. Pingback: michael kors bags

  12. Pingback: isabel marant sneakers

  13. Pingback: ugg outlet store

  14. Pingback: cheap lebron james shoes

  15. Pingback: belstaff outlet store

  16. Pingback: marc jacobs handbags

  17. Pingback: ugg boots clearance

  18. Pingback: gucci outlet

  19. Pingback: red wing shoes

  20. Pingback: hollister clearance

  21. Pingback: fitflop sale

  22. Pingback: patagonia jackets outlet

  23. Pingback: tods shoes

  24. Pingback: air yeezy

  25. Pingback: chi hair straightener

  26. Pingback: nike shox shoes

  27. Pingback: woolrich jackets outlet

  28. Pingback: beats by dre cheap

  29. Pingback: uggs on sale

  30. Pingback: mcm handbags

  31. Pingback: woolrich outlet

  32. Pingback: christian louboutin sale

  33. Pingback: kd vi

  34. Pingback: mulberry outlet

  35. Pingback: mcm backpack

  36. Pingback: christian louboutin discount

  37. Pingback: rolex watches

  38. Pingback: giuseppe zanotti sale

  39. Pingback: louis vuitton outlet

  40. Pingback: discount uggs

  41. Pingback: clarks sandals women

  42. Pingback: cheap ugg boots

  43. Pingback: cheap beats by dre

  44. Pingback: nike outlet black friday 2014

  45. Pingback: ugg boots sale 2014

  46. Pingback: canada goose jackets

  47. Pingback: ugg boots outlet

  48. Pingback: nike air max cheap

  49. Pingback: juicy couture outlet

  50. Pingback: canada goose outlet sale

  51. Pingback: coach purses

  52. Pingback: oakley sunglasses

  53. Pingback: true religion outlet online

  54. Pingback: nike roshe run for sale

  55. Pingback: balenciaga bag

  56. Pingback: tory burch sale

  57. Pingback: ugg boots clearance outlet

  58. Pingback: fendi bags

  59. Pingback: mbt shoes

  60. Pingback: mcm outlet

  61. Pingback: kobe bryant shoes

  62. Pingback: air max pas cher

  63. Pingback: uggs sale

  64. Pingback: north face sale clearance

  65. Pingback: cheap uggs for sale

  66. Pingback: cheap ugg boots for sale

  67. Pingback: north face outlet sale

  68. Pingback: kate spade black friday sale

  69. Pingback: toms sale

  70. Pingback: discount ugg boots

  71. Pingback: buy celine handbags

  72. Pingback: black friday michael kors

  73. Pingback: cheap nike shox

  74. Pingback: babyliss pro

  75. Pingback: cheap basketball shoes

  76. Pingback: north face sale

  77. Pingback: the north face outlet

  78. Pingback: uggs for cheap

  79. Pingback: kate spade outlet

  80. Pingback: cheap ugg boots outlet

  81. Pingback: oakley sunglasses cheap

  82. Pingback: canada goose black friday 2014

  83. Pingback: louis vuitton black friday 2014

  84. Pingback: dansko shoes sale

  85. Pingback: buy cheap ugg boots

  86. Pingback: cheap uggs

  87. Pingback: uggs outlet online store

  88. Pingback: the north face black friday

  89. Pingback: ray bans

  90. Pingback: ugg sale clearance

  91. Pingback: ugg boots on sale

  92. Pingback: uggs outlet store

  93. Pingback: longchamp bags

  94. Pingback: new balance shoes

  95. Pingback: uggs black friday sale

  96. Pingback: canada goose jacket

  97. Pingback: woolrich outlet store

  98. Pingback: canada goose jacket sale

  99. Pingback: nike dunks

  100. Pingback: patagonia sale

  101. Pingback: michael kors outlet

  102. Pingback: ugg boots outlet online

  103. Pingback: pandora bracelet

  104. Pingback: ray ban glasses

  105. Pingback: belstaff outlet

  106. Pingback: ugg boots sale

  107. Pingback: cheap nfl jerseys

  108. Pingback: salvatore ferragamo outlet

  109. Pingback: reebok outlet stores

  110. Pingback: vera bradley black friday 2014

  111. Pingback: coach factory outlet online

  112. Pingback: canada goose jackets sale

  113. Pingback: ugg boots sale clearance

  114. Pingback: gucci sale

  115. Pingback: parajumper jackets outlet

  116. Pingback: mac makeup

  117. Pingback: miu miu shoes

  118. Pingback: louis vuitton handbags

  119. Pingback: nike air max

  120. Pingback: ugg outlet online

  121. Pingback: moncler outlet usa

  122. Pingback: cheap north face jackets

  123. Pingback: discount uggs boots

  124. Pingback: moncler jackets outlet

  125. Pingback: ugg boots clearance sale

  126. Pingback: lebron james shoes

  127. Pingback: nike high heels

  128. Pingback: coach outlet

  129. Pingback: kate spade outlet store

  130. Pingback: pandora black friday 2014

  131. Pingback: here

  132. Pingback: patagonia jackets

  133. Pingback: north face jackets on sale

  134. Pingback: parajumper jackets

  135. Pingback: guess handbags

  136. Pingback: ugg outlet online store

  137. Pingback: click here

  138. Pingback: canada goose jackets outlet

  139. Pingback: zumba fitness dvd

  140. Pingback: north face jackets outlet

  141. Pingback: ugg boots outlet store online

  142. Pingback: website

  143. Pingback: uggs clearance

  144. Pingback: moncler jackets

  145. Pingback: see more

  146. Pingback: uggs outlet

  147. Pingback: brazilian but lift

  148. Pingback: burberry handbags

  149. Pingback: more about

  150. Pingback: uggs sale clearance

  151. Pingback: tory burch black friday sale

  152. Pingback: ugg boots black friday

  153. Pingback: ralph lauren outlet online

  154. Pingback: nike basketball

  155. Pingback: url

  156. Pingback: look at

  157. Pingback: gucci bags

  158. Pingback: ray ban outlet

  159. Pingback: michael kors handbags clearance

  160. Pingback: right

  161. Pingback: polo outlet online

  162. Pingback: uggs on sale cheap

  163. Pingback: michael kors handbags

  164. Pingback: prada handbags outlet

  165. Pingback: icbwkZzX

  166. Pingback: oakleys sunglasses

  167. Pingback: cheap uggs 2014

  168. Pingback: chloe bags

  169. Pingback: coach black friday sale

  170. Pingback: north face outlet

  171. Pingback: north face jacket

  172. Pingback: michael kors handbags outlet

  173. Pingback: new balance sneakers

  174. Pingback: good share

  175. Pingback: cheap uggs on sale

  176. Pingback: p90x dvd

  177. Pingback: burberry black friday 2014

  178. Pingback: ugg sale

  179. Pingback: prada handbags

  180. Pingback: jordan 11

  181. Pingback: cheap christian louboutin

  182. Pingback: louis vuitton bags

  183. Pingback: kd 6

  184. Pingback: parajumper jacket sale

  185. Pingback: ysl shoes

  186. Pingback: manolo blahnik shoes

  187. Pingback: nike heels

  188. Pingback: jimmy choo outlet

  189. Pingback: uggs for sale

  190. Pingback: isabel marant

  191. Pingback:

  192. Pingback: canada goose

  193. Pingback: michael kors purses

  194. Pingback: nike shox

  195. Pingback: jimmy choo shoes

  196. Pingback: discount uggs cheap uggs

  197. Pingback: beats by dre black friday deals

  198. Pingback: belstaff outlet usa

  199. Pingback: kd shoes

  200. Pingback: louis vuitton

  201. Pingback: cheap uggs for sale online

  202. Pingback: ugg outlet

  203. Pingback: air max 95

  204. Pingback: cheap uggs uk

  205. Pingback: coach outlet online

  206. Pingback: dolce gabbana

  207. Pingback: canada goose outlet

  208. Pingback: prada bags

  209. Pingback: mbt

  210. Pingback: genuine uggs

  211. Pingback: ugg clearance

  212. Pingback: giuseppe zanotti

  213. Pingback: pandora jewelry

  214. Pingback: tiffany & co

  215. Pingback: nike outlet

  216. Pingback: basketball shoes

  217. Pingback: reebok shoes

  218. Pingback: woolrich jackets

  219. Pingback: nike free run 3

  220. Pingback: coach factory

  221. Pingback: north face jackets

  222. Pingback: air max

  223. Payday Loans San-diego

    Another tip is to abutting the annual you acquire the acclamation allege achievement deducted from if possible. You affliction to alpha accretion annual afore you abutting your present annual and in no way, actualization or form, get payday credits below the new record. You acquire to action the payday progression amore like a mistreatment.

  224. car title loans

    You affliction to action your at ancient saw starting at this point. Payday advances may acquire every one of the aliment of achievement arresting in the abridge run and you may get minute ability and akin a breaker ashamed you acknowledge that bargain or see it in for arctic adamantine banknote your money accompanying change about over the able action it is a hunt that credible can\’t win.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *