In 1909 electric service was spreading and electrical appliances were taking off as a consumer item. But electricity wasn't everywhere and not everyone was convinced that it was more than a passing fad. Makers of lighting fixtures, in fact, produced lights that were both gas fed and wired for electricity just to "cover all the bases."
So it's not surprising that inventors focused on improving and creating non-electric appliances.
On December 14, 1909, Henry Knoblock received a patent for the toaster shown above. Two versions were shown in the patent; the toaster shown in the patent drawing below has a conical center while the toaster in the illustration above has a flat, pyramidal shape. The flat-sided version was still being sold in 1923 for 87 cents, "An old standby at a price that stands all alone."
Below is the first several paragraphs from Mr. Knoblock's patent:
Be it known that I, Henry P. Knoblock, a citizen of the United States, residing at Pittsburg, in the county of Allegheny and State of Pennsylvania, have invented new and useful Improvements in Toasters, of which the following is a specification.
The invention relates generally to an improvement in toasters, and is more particularly directed to a construction in the use of which a plurality of pieces of material may be simultaneously subjected to the action of the heat, the radiation of such heat being controlled to insure its uniform distribution to the full exposed surface of such material.
The main object of the present invention is the provision of a toaster provided with a series of material supports, which supports are removably connected to the toaster to permit the use of the latter for purposes other than toasting.
A further object is the provision of a baffle plate for distributing the heated gases, which plate is of solid construction and secured in a novel manner in the toaster.
The toaster as an entirety, with the exception of the material supports, is constructed of sheet metal and the parts are so arranged as to be readily assembled without the usual soldering or riveting, thereby facilitating the construction and reducing the cost to a minimum without impairing its efficiency.
Henry Knoblock was not the only inventor to work with the pyramid-shape, stovetop toaster. See the illustrations in the Cordless Toasters for other examples. A version of this style of toaster is still being manufactured today by the Bromwell Company of Michigan City, Indiana.
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