Wednesday, December 29, 2021

A Toast to the Sunbeam T-20A

I recently told of my estate sale quest for a toaster, so I won't repeat that, but I'll give a little background on why I was obsessed with my mission that day.

For one thing, I've been obsessed with vintage toasters for a long time.  I've owned many different models over the years and it's always fascinated how many variations there can be for the same simple task of toasting bread.

I've previously owned a couple different Sunbeam models that featured automatic lowering and raising and radiant control including the model T20-B and T35.  Over the years, my toasters have come and gone, either due to selling them or them simply wearing out.  It was easier letting go of toasters back then as no one was interested in them and were easily found for $1 at sales.  Times have changed.

When I saw this ad in the December 1951 issue of The Saturday Evening Post, I knew I had to own one again.

Quickly looking on eBay, I was disheartened to see them regularly selling for over $200.  I wasn't going to pay that much and decided I would wait for another opportunity to come along.  I didn't have to wait long.  As I previously told, I spotted one sitting on a vintage dryer in a listing for a local estate sale.

I made sure I was there early enough to get a decent line ticket and ended up being 5th in line at the sale.  Inside, I went immediately to the basement, but then my mind went blank.  Where did I see it again???  The cabinet in the picture above threw me off and I headed toward a similar cabinet that was in a different part of the basement.  Fortunately, my sister was with me and saw it, securing it quickly for me.

It was only $10, a steal given the eBay prices.

The cord was in excellent condition and after applying a little chrome polish, it was ready for toast. The pictures below don't do it justice.  It's just hard to photograph chrome.

Another chrome cameo by me

After testing with a sacrificial piece of bread, it was ready for it's inaugural run.

My toast go-to, butter and cinnamon sugar.

As I mentioned, the toaster features an automatic plunger.  Place the bread in the slots and it gracefully lowers slowly (note, the trigger is on the left side, so when toasting one piece of bread, you have to use that side, as is noted on the toaster itself).

The toaster features "Radiant Control" which basically means it senses the temperature of the bread rather than toasting for a particular duration. The ad explains it better than I can.

Reunited with my Sunbeam, I plan on hanging onto this one for a long time.


  1. Would a chrome cameo be a "chromeo?"

    ...I'll show myself out...

    1. Oh, Chromeo, Chromeo, wherefore art thou, Chromeo?


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