More Than Just a Toaster

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In a world where computers, music players, game systems, and automobiles come and go, we manage to become attached to our toasters. This simple appliance makes our bread warm enough to melt butter and crisp enough to hold honey or jam. An oven or even a stovetop will do the same thing, but you'll rarely find a kitchen that doesn't have a toaster.

Your Childhood Friend

The Brave Little Toaster is the hero of the book and movie (and their sequels) about a group of appliances that are not merely machines, they are old friends. The way Toaster and his owner feel about each other gives us a clue about our fondness for toasters: for many people, using a toaster is our first childhood cooking experience. And there's nothing like eating bread you toasted yourself when you're four years old.

Toast Imprinting

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Mom used to imprint faces on soft bread with a spoon or knife, which would show up on toast and make kids eager to eat breakfast. Now there are specialty toasters that will brand your bread with all kinds of symbolism. The Hello Kitty Toaster is one example. You might prefer to have your toast embossed with a pirate's skull and crossbones, with the Totenkopf Toaster SKULL-Toast.

Toaster Casemod

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Like building a better mousetrap, we tend to tinker with even the most perfect machines. the toaster is no exception. Adam Bertram made a computer casemod with a vintage toaster. The result: smiles for everyone who sees it.

Computer Toaster

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A few years ago, the NetBSD Project combined a working computer with a working toaster! The heat didn't affect the computer and the toast is just what you need while coding or surfing the 'net.

The Toast Cannon

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Besides the ability to cook by ourselves, as children we were impressed by the pop-up action of our toasters. Freddie Yauner took that fascination to the limit with the Moaster CO2 gas-powered toaster. This is the world's highest-popping toaster, certified last month by the Guiness Book of World Records when the machine launched toast 8.5 feet (2.6 meters) high.

Transparent Toaster

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The Inventables Concept Studio proposed making a more beautiful toaster by giving it transparent walls. A lovely idea, but years later, it's still a concept.

Roller Toaster

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Designer Jaren Goh developed the Roller Toaster, the smallest toaster ever, since it doesn't have to hold the bread. Push your bread in on one side and it "rolls" through while the hot element toasts it from side to side. I can't find it for sale anywhere.

The Toaster as Art

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Our beloved toaster can be an art medium. North Carolina artist Joel Haas made this Toaster Mutt from an old toaster and other kitchen implements. It's still a functioning toaster!

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Toasters are also art subjects. Kevin O'Callaghan of the Manhattan School of Visual Arts recycled 39 old Yugos into an art project, part of which is the Yugo Toaster.

Toaster Museum

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The Toaster Museum Foundation has been so popular online that the management is looking for a permanent space to display toaster and toaster history in the real world. You can read about the history of the toaster at the Cyber Toaster Museum and see pictures of thousands of different toaster styles from the past 100 years. You'll probably find a picture of the toaster you remember using when you were a kid, or maybe even the toaster you use now!

Now excuse me, I think my breakfast is ready.

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July 29, 2008 - 4:05am
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