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G.E. Model D-12


Important &
Interesting Patents
1905 to 1929

Information from Hazelcorn's Price Guide to Old Electric Toasters 1908-1940, written by Charles Fisher.





A regular patent describes and grants title to the invention of a novel mechanism, function, method, etc., and runs for 17 years. A design patent only covers the specific stylistic or decorative aspect of an item, which may even be someone else's invention. It runs 7 or 14 years. (In the following: application filed on first date; patent granted on second date.)

March 1905 - Feb. 1906 Albert Marsh discovers and patents the chromium-nickel alloy for resistance wire which was essential for toasters as we know them. Hoskins Mfg. Co. formed to develop the new material. Notices appear on other manufacturers' products only from 1915 to 1923.
June 1905 - July 1906 George Schneider invents a practical if complicated, enclosed toaster specifying "suitable resistance wire," probably referring to Marsh's alloy. It appears fully engineered for production; the patent is assigned to American Electric Heater Co. of Detroit.
Nov. 1907 - Oct. 1908 Dempster of G.E. patents a wire alloy intended to circumvent the Marsh invention. It failed to save G.E. from successful prosecution by Marsh's company a few years later.
October 1908 Parkhurst of G.E. applies for a patent on a porcelain base toaster like the D-12 except for its impractical elements. Andrews of G.E. invents another unworkable toaster interesting for its wire-frame 'doors'.
Feb. 1909 - June 1909 Harold Bradley invents another enclosed toaster, reminiscent of the Schneider.
May 1909 - Dec. 1910 William Hadaway of Westinghouse invents a horizontal combination toaster-cooker, the important feature of which is a stamped sheet-metal element like a flatiron's. This was the first toaster made by Westinghouse.
July 1909 - Feb. 1910 G.E.'s Frank Shailor patents the original first version of the D-12, (shown at the top of this page).
Oct. 1909 - March 1910 James Ayer invents the Ultimate Toaster when only the G.E. perchers were around to improve upon. It was so elegant and expensive that Simplex shortly abandoned the T211. in favor of a simpler design.
Jan. 1912 - July 1914 Spencer Wiltsie patents a complicated and costly toaster which embodies a most important advance. The patent was assigned to the Copeman Electric Stove Co., and its importance was overlooked until Mrs. Copeman saw how to apply it to existing toasters.
September 1912 Edward Schwartz received a design patent on the spidery cabriole-legged percher, which was made by Pelouze Mfg. of Chicago.
May 1912 - Dec. 1913 Alonzo Warner patents the smart and efficient little pincher that was the first in a long line of Landers, Frary & Clark (L.F.& C) toasters.
June 1913 - Aug. 1914 Hazel Copeman combines the Wiltsie slice-turning door with the El Tosto percher frame (as well as with those of the Simplex T211 and G.E. D-12) in perhaps the most important toaster patent of all. Its first known appearance is in the Westinghouse wheel-top toaster.
December 1913 Frank Kuhn is granted a design patent on a straightforward pincher with a novel laminated and removable element; it was made by American Electric Heater Co.
October 1914 Edward Farr patents a decorative design for the Simplex T215 type toaster which had been taken over to be made thereafter by Manning & Bowman.
March 1915 - Oct. 1915 James Lamb of L.F.& C. patents a brilliant simplification of Warner's 1913 design. It resulted in sturdier and cheaper toasters which were made for many years.
June 1915 George Curtiss of L.F.& C is granted a design patent for the styling of the production version of Lamb's improvement. This lovely toaster (the E944) was made for at least 15 years.
June 1915 - Nov. 1915 Leon Parkhurst of G.E. is granted a design patent on the infamous X-2, claimed by the G.E. Bridgeport public relations department to have been "made in 1905". As far back as 1908 Parkhurst was working on a composite tubular element, to avoid use of the Marsh alloy or infringement with the patent. The idea was to protect inferior wire from oxidation by enclosure in a tube with insulating material. This design seems to be an attempt to establish priority on what became G.E.'s famous and excellent CALROD unit. It is our carefully considered opinion that this toaster was made only in sample quantities, in 1914 or 1915.
Feb. 1917 - Nov. 1920 Frederick Collier patents the first rotating basket toaster. It was the last hand-operated toaster invention of absolutely first magnitude, and it spawned a whole school of design.
March 1917 - Jan. 1921 It is one of those historical niceties that as Collier was in venting the Swinger, Edwin Rutenber developed a non-infringing slice-turning mechanism to compete with Copeman-licensed designs. It was a solid success, made in large numbers by Rutenber Electric Co. of Marion, Indiana. Many other turning mechanisms were patented in the years following, including another by Rutenber which infringed neither with Copeman nor with his first one.
June 1919 - Aug. 1922 Edward Schwartz, copying L.F.& C. outlines, patents an up dated enclosed or oven-type toaster, as pioneered by Schneider and Bradley ten years before. This design belonged to Manhattan Electric Supply Co. and the idea had limited appeal, only during the twenties. The very similar L.F.& C. is not common.
Jan. 1921-Aug. 1922 Maurice Fitzgerald is the first to follow Collier's lead, with a patent that sidesteps it. Fitzgerald swingers are relatively common to this day.
Feb. 1921- Jan. 1922 Alonzo Warner is later applying for but earlier receiving his swinger patent. The drawing of his invention resembles Collier's in styling. Both Fitzgerald and Landers, Frary & Clark scrambled to design and market swingers as soon as they saw Collier's patent, and the actual toaster in the shops. The two manufacturers seemed to have reasoned that the visual appeal of the idea outweighed the merits of possible Copeman-evading turners.
May 1922 As before, George Curtiss secures a design patent on another brilliant design, for the familiar and beloved E947
Oct. 1922 - Dec. 1923 William Dodge, Jr. of Manning & Bowman patents one of history's giddiest toasters. It is a swinger with horizontally pivoted baskets which must be opened and closed by hand - 8 moving parts not counting little springs. Horizontal pivoting was used in a few later swingers.
June 1923 - April 1925 Bertrand Kahn of the Estate Stove Co. patented a most amusing but quite successful toaster. It is a swinger with four sides and four synchronized baskets. Frivolous and less useful toaster inventions proliferated during the twenties.
Jan. 1924 - Feb. 1928 Frederick Hummel and John Noeth patented a "family bread toaster", which looks like an L.F.& C. tipper of a later period except that it has a timer which makes the rack tip out when the cycle ends. This is a most advanced design for 1924, and may be the parent of better-known later products.
July 1926 - Feb. 1928 Charles Strite secures a patent on the original pop-up toaster as made by Waters Genter of Minneapolis (the Toastmaster Model 1-A-1). Strite had pioneered the automatic pop-up toaster in a restaurant version in 1921.
May 1929 George Curtiss is granted a design patent on the fabulous diamond and ear ring pattern UNIVERSAL E9410 (the Sweetheart toaster shown in the 1920-1940 section of the Cyber-Toaster Museum).


 


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