Thursday, March 16, 2017


For years, I have driven past a house on my way home from work that I have entertained (if only wishfully) I would some day own. It's located in an old neighborhood (turn of the last century) of homes called "Webster Park" in Webster Groves, one of the earliest suburbs in the St. Louis area. Despite being an upscale (read expensive) area, the amount of repair on the home gave me a glimmer of hope it would be affordable when it did come on the market.  Seeing this picture on the listing gave me hope that it would soon be for sale.

Last Saturday, my wife and I headed out to the sale in time to be 17th and 18th in line.  

As it turns out, the house was indeed for sale.  We grabbed a flyer while standing in line.  The asking price is $549,000.  Seeing the condition of the exterior up close and having walked through the house which needed excessive remodeling not to mention rewiring, I think you could easily stick another $300,000 into it. So I guess this isn't my dream home after all.

But I didn't let that dampen the day and had hopes for the contents.  To be honest, I was surprised at the lack of vintage items at the sale.  Oddly enough, there were instead things like recent issues of "Fangoria" and Todd McFarlane action figures for sale. Despite that, I may have ended up with the oldest item for sale in the house. Down in the basement, I found a Hotpoint 157T26 toaster.  It had rusted quite a bit being in the dampness of the basement and though it might horrify some toaster purists (I'm sure they're out there), I took it to the wire brush wheel on my grinder.

The toaster is nickel-plated.

You can see evidence of how rusted it was in the pitting on the top. The only bad thing about using the wire wheel was it removed some painted accents in the lines on top. I may restore those, but I'll have to find some heat-resistant paint.

 The cord was rotted, but having bought many vintage appliances in the past, I have plenty of replacements.

 Hotpoint was originally known for their electric irons, their name referring to the tip of the iron.

 The Bakelite front knob controls the side doors.

The bottom is marked with the catalog number along with the patent number 1105230 which appears to be a patent for this style toaster rather than this particular model.  This patent along with the labeling of "Edison Electric Appliance Co. Inc." places the date of this toaster some time between 1914 and 1927. 

 A slice of bread is placed on either side, held in place by a metal bracket.

 There's no on/off switch on the toaster. It's plug in and go.

It's a very involved toasting process. Because the top of the toast is positioned closer to the heating coils, it toasts quicker than the bottom, so after about 30 seconds, you have to rotate the bread.  Then after another 15 seconds or so, you have to flip the toast around so the other side toasts (involving rotating again).  It toasts pretty quickly and the difference between nicely toasted and burnt is a matter of seconds, so there's no walking away. I should also note, being made entirely of metal with no insulation, the entire toaster gets very hot and can't be handled for some time after toasting.

 The end product

I do occasionally like jelly, but I opted for cinnamon sugar, my go-to for toast topping.


  1. wow, what a beautiful object -- and while it may not be authentic, i think it looks fine without the painted details. i guess a bonus about it getting so hot while you use it is that it would help heat the room in your drafty old house. (i speak as an owner of an old house with drafty rooms, of course, haha)

    mmmmmmm, cinnamon sugar toast......

    1. True. It would make a great foot warmer.

  2. Yeah that is really neat and the fact that it works is crazy! I drive by my dream house everyday as well. Use to walk past it on my way to grade school as well. Always loved the creepy fun look, but the new owners have really cleaned it up. Someday!

    1. >Yeah that is really neat and the fact that it works is crazy!
      I've found that toasters are pretty safe bet to buy. They are fairly simple (especially these older models) so they generally work even after decades (or almost a century in this case).
      > I drive by my dream house everyday as well. Use to walk past it
      >on my way to grade school as well.
      Here's to our dreams, Bob. Mine was already sold (less than a week). Hope you can get yours some day.


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