Thursday, December 1, 2022

Empire State Toaster

I have a disease for which there is no known cure.  If you saw me walking on the street, you wouldn't even be able to tell I was sick.  The disease? My name is Tom and I'm a toaster hoarder. I have an urge to buy any toaster I see at garage sales, estate sales, antique malls, thrift stores, you name it.  Maybe someday there will be a cure, but for now, I just keep buying.

My latest infection is this 1930's Electrahot Style 500 toaster featuring a stylized Empire State building design. I found it at a private estate sale for $6.  It was pretty grimy when I got it.

The elements are mica sheets wrapped in wire.  They were a little wonky, but I was able to straighten out.

The cord was in bad condition, so I wanted to replace it.  There's a small panel under the toaster that can be removed by twisting the metal clips.

Under the plate are two screw terminals where the wires attach.  They are insulated by a couple of mica washers.  This prevents the current from coming into contact with the toaster body which would not be a good start to your day.

You can see the cord is pretty ratty.  I had another NOS cord, but unfortunately, it was too thick to fit through the cord hole in the bottom plate (above).  So as a temporary measure, I cut off the only good section of the existing cord and rewired it.  The cord is a little short, but still works okay.

Under the top plate was really rusty.  This cleaned up fairly well on the wire brush wheel, but unfortunately, I forgot to take an after photo.

The final result. Not perfect, it still shows it's age, but looks a lot better than it did.

Let's plug her in and see what happens.

And now, the bread.

It toasts fairly fast and you do have to watch it to manually flip your bread to the opposite side.

Almost 100 years old and still does what it was designed to do.  

Part of this nutritious and balanced breakfast.


  1. ok, so i of course have long known about your toaster obsession, and i think it's a fine thing -- but this post made me wonder: what do you DO with all of them? do you have a mini toaster museum set up somewhere in your house? or are they all just in storage? if it were me, i'd swap them out every week, using them and rotating them around. but maybe that's just me...

    1. I have my collection displayed both on top of our kitchen cabinets and on a shelf in the basement. I'm really behind on posting my finds from the past year. When I post, I'll share how I display. And I do rotate them out every month or so, however, my favorite toaster is always the last one I bought.

    2. ahhh, yes, i would display them like that too. i guess it all depends on how many you have! i have an upper shelf in our kitchen with a single vintage toaster, a vintage espresso machine, a Bialette coffee maker, and a pasta maker -- all shiny chrome or silver, of course. but that's about it. i totally get that your favorite is the most recent one. the thrill of the new : )

  2. I would not have a clue as to how to use one of those things. The designs among vintage toasters seem to vary greatly. It did clean up beautifully though.

    1. The variations are what fascinate me. There were so many manufacturers in the early days of toasters. They were a new technology and everyone jumped on the band wagon. They attempted to circumvent existing patents thus the variety.

  3. What a groovy find! I would have snagged it for $6, too, if I had noticed the ESB design. But I never would have been able to handle the renovation/rewiring. Do you know anything about its history/value? Would this have been used at the building?

    1. No, I think it's only connection to ESB is that it capitalized on the excitement around it. As for value, most of these style toasters aren't worth a lot, however, I haven't found this particular model for sale anywhere and the design element could add a little to the value.


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