Monday, September 3, 2012

Odd Man Out

Happy Labor Day, and who works harder than the humble toaster.  Since 1919 it's been popping up our daily bread.  Simple electric toasters were on the scene 10 years prior before someone decided to put a timer on one. 

I've admitted in the past that I've never met a toaster I didn't like. Especially one decked out in chrome and with some unusual feature.  When I saw this toaster at an estate sale marked at $3, I probably would have bought it if it even if it met only one of those criteria.  The chrome was evident from a distance, but when I got a closer look, I was surprised to find that it was a 3-slotted toaster.

The sides boast the ever-present Toastermaster swirl:

I pondered on the number of slots.  I've always eaten two pieces of toast for breakfast.  But was that because there was always 2 slots on my toasters?  It's a chicken or the egg question.  Did manufacturers make 2-slot toasters because that's what people ate for breakfast or did we become accustomed to eating 2 slices because it was the toaster-dictated quantity?

There isn't much information on this model, the Toastmaster 1-C-5, on the internet (you wouldn't believe the number of Toastmasters public speaking groups you have to wade through!), but if I didn't know by the design already, I did confirm it's from the '50's. 

Finally, I came across a site that identified the intent of this particular toaster -- Club Sandwiches.  Apparently, Toastermaster felt they could capitalize on a restaurant craze and bring Club Sandwiches into the home.  Apparently, they were not very successful and this model had a short-lived run.

My particular toaster had the accumulation of decades of toasting, the insides coated with that crumb grease combination so commonly found in old toasters.  It required complete disassembly.   A word of warning to any toaster do-it-yourselfers out there.  See those wavy rods that form the toast cage seen in the second photo?  They are only hanging by a hook.  Disassembled and turned upside down, they spill out like so many pick-up sticks.  After cleaning and reinserting all 30 rods (several times), and working out a problem with my reassembly (the plunger catch was stuck in an upright position preventing the plunger from catching when pushed down), I finally had the toaster in tip-toast shape.  It was ready for it's inaugral run. 

Normally, I would make a simple toast and jelly to test, but given this toasters intended design, there could be but one dish worthy of its use.


  1. Tom, great job and great find! I am not a toaster afficianado but love all things fifties. Never saw a three slotter, never even heard of one but I think finding a rare item is always alot of fun! Thanks for posting. From Janet's Planet

  2. Hey, just found this blog post looking for information on the 1C5 I picked up today. Great info, I never would have guessed the reason for the three slots.

    Some pics of mine here:


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