Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Classic Automatic Toaster - The Sunbeam T-20

The same day that I bought the turqouise lamp that I shared a couple of days ago, I found this great Sunbeam toaster.  It was at a booth where everything was half off (my kind of booth!), and I was able to get it for $2.50.  For that price, I figured that it was worth taking a chance on. 

It was filthy when I got it, but 15 minutes scrubbing it down inside and out produced a presentable piece.  It works well, at least with that frozen waffle that I put in there - just need to get the light/darkness adjusted a little bit.

The automatic function is so cool!  I've done a little research on it, and found that these were not cheap toasters.  Sunbeam made this same basic toaster, under different model numbers beginning in 1949 and running through 1997.

Mine is a model T-20B, which was manufactured starting in August 1952 and ran through January 1957, when production of the T-20C began.

I found a great website dedicated to this toaster model, Evolution of the T-20, which provides all sorts of interesting information.

The T-20 was the first fully automatic toaster. 

From the website linked to above:

"In a 1949 Consumer's Union test of toasters, they note the novel design, "The weight of the bread closes an electrical contact; this turns on the current and the bread slice is automatically lowered...". And the T-20 was one of the first toasters to use a bi-metallic, heat-sensitive device to gauge the temperature of the bread slice rather than the temperature of the toaster. This is supposed to prevent the bread from being able to burn."

The toaster retailed for $22.50 in 1949, and $85.00 in 1996.  Obviously, an investment intended to last!

Have a great Wednesday!


  1. I have one Much like this! iTS A 1954 HAMILTON BEACH with 3 strands of wheat on each side. It has earned the nickname "Searing Toaster of DEATH" because I cannot tell you how many times I have picked it up as well as my friends when it was hot! Great find, that chrome will look excllent with Turquoise in the kitchen re-do!

  2. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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