The Cheerie Toastove
By Eric Norcross
As America became electrified in the late 1800s, there was great competition among inventors, industrialists, and others to put this newly controlled power to work. Men like Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse built electric generating stations. Edison touted Direct Current (DC), Westinghouse saw Alternating Current (AC) as the future, and a "Battle of the Currents" ensued. This battle hindered a bit the development of electrical devices and appliances as different parts of the country had different power sources. Nonetheless, the electrical industry forged ahead and at the 1893 World's Columbia Exposition held in Chicago an electric kitchen was featured. The kitchen included an electric grill, coffee pot, chafing dish, and other appliances - but no toaster. Something special was required before the electric toaster could exist, and several years would pass before it would be discovered.
Toast is made by applying radiant heat to a slice of bread. This is easily done with fire, but creating an electrical device to toast bread in a timely fashion presented quite a challenge. What was needed was a wire that could be heated quickly to a red-hot temperature, and be able to do this repeatedly without burning out or becoming brittle and breaking.
Thomas Edison worked long and hard to find a durable element wire that could heat to red-hot in the vacuum of a light bulb; but the toaster needed an element that could function in open air.
Of course there were other possibilities for such a wire - an instant heat source wherever one had electricity for example - and many companies and individuals were involved in the search.
In March 1905, a young engineer named Albert Marsh applied for a patent on an alloy of nickel and chromium, which came to be known as Nichrome. In his patent application Marsh described this alloy as having:
"[T]he properties of being very low in electrical conductivity, very infusable, non-oxydizable to a very high degree, tough and sufficiently ductile to permit drawing or shaping it into wire or strip to render it convenient for use as an electrical resistance element."
Shortly after the patent was granted on February 6, 1906, according to Charles Fisher, "The Hoskins Manufacturing Co. was promptly formed to develop uses and markets for Marsh's discoveries. From the start they concentrated on industrial and laboratory applications, with only one venture into the consumer market in late 1909, with a table cooker called the Toastove."
The Toastove, the Cheerie Toastove, was the first appliance advertised to use the patented Nichrome wire. "The spirally coiled wire is of the wonderful metal discovered in the laboratories of the Hoskins Company to produce the extreme temperatures of their electric furnaces. Now for the first time applied to use in the home, - in the new, unique, fascinating -Cheerie Toastove."
And what other methods do you think were used to advertise the Toastove? Maybe a famous stage actress was depicted, crumbs all over her face, asking, "Got Toast?" Perhaps a popular pugilist was portrayed prompting the populace to "Just Toast It!" No, a little more respect was paid to the intelligence of the consuming public at the beginning of this century; the following text is from a promotional booklet advertising the qualities and benefits of the Hoskins Toastove:
"CHIRRUP! Chirrup! The cricket on the hearth, sang cheerfully, chasing back the shadows" - and Charles Dickens told us of a great cheer.
The cheer of the home. Of smiling faces and happy voices. Of days begun in joy, carried with enthusiasm and closing in peace.
The cheeriness of a life of happily lived days!
You know that Life comes from years - which are made of days.
That days begun brightly are proof against gloom. They assure of cheer. That mornings of sunshine handicap failure. They are compelling of happiness, invite success.
True, breakfast begins the morning. Its color forecasts the day. Even with the sun shining from a blue sky without, a great deal of cheer can be added within. And when it is bitter cold - those bleak mornings that hang so heavily, the grey can be cut - brushed aside and the first meal of the day be made golden. Breakfast can always be an inspiration!
The "Toastove" on the table, as you enter the dining room, greets you radiantly. It is so cheerful. No dullness, no chill. Its brilliant, gladsome incandescence warms you. Your aroused spirits awaken completely under its penetrating spell. You cannot resist it! You are aglow with pleasant anticipation as you draw up your chair.
A slice of bread is laid upon it. How quickly the response. Something of the faint suggestion of browning wheat - odorous, pungent - fills your nostrils, whets sharp your appetite, infusing an eager zest for the eating. The delicate sense of taste is keenly alive with delightful anticipation. Your mouth waters as it does when you are acutely hungry.
You turn the piece and the exquisite brown of the toasted side comes on top. Hot from the grid to your plate! The butter melting as it smoothly runs over the fresh, crisp toast. Dainty in its perfection, fragrant, delicious, - its subtle, compelling appeal is answered as you raise it to your mouth. Your lips smack. Oh! joy, how good.
Truly, the "cheerie" Toastove - livening the countenance with a ruddy cheerfullness, delighting the whole being with the best of good cheer. YES, you have guessed it!
-A blushing, polished little "Toastove" - for that's its name. Its smiling warmth comes from the electric current that lights the room when you turn the switch. And the cheerie Toastove works just as simply; you screw the plug into a lamp socket in the chandelier and press the button in its own switch that lies so conveniently beside it. The electric energy runs down the jaunty green cord. It heats the spiral coil of the wire beneath the grid of the Toastove to a shimmering red.
"How quickly!" you exclaim. Yes, it responds as if by magic. And so much heat from such a small source. "So clean, too, and no matches." True. and just as safe as your drop light.
And such a convenience.
Indeed, the Toastove is ever willing to serve you instantly. And constantly. It can do this in a hundred ways of daily need throughout the house. No emergency can be too sudden, no occasion too exacting but that it lends its helpful duty. And always so cheerfully.
It becomes the ideal base for the chafing dish blazer. It will boil water. In the Toastove you have the heat equivalent of a burner or opening of the range, available for just as many uses too. And this in a super-attractive form, compact, easily movable, ready for instant use at any time. It will last for years.
"To the richness of the home and the cheer thereof" - was well spoken of the Toastove. Each countenance centered around it at the table reflects its animated glow. The child's face flushes with fixed interest as he gazes contentedly into its mysterious "fire." The guest, unexpected or planned for, is won at once by the hospitable welcome it joyously extends.
The Toastove knows no restrictions in occasions for its appreciative use.
Indispensable as it is for the cheer and comfort of the breakfast table, it forms a delight for the dainty luncheon and a lively relish to the late supper. To the dinner, its quickness, its availability make it a real help, enjoyed not more by the others than by the hostess herself. And for those various "between-time" meals the Toastove assures the delightful cheer of any fare.
To the mother, what a happy assistant! The Toastove is never failing in its helpful performance of many little duties in the care of the child - especially the baby. Instantly ready at any time to warm the milk, or to take the chill off the room for the little one's bath. The Toastove is indeed a delight to the nursery; and such a source of happy interest to the children.
Should there be illness in the home, the Toastove displays one of its especial charms. In the sick room it is a blessing. So easily carried here, just as easily connected to the lighting circuit, a mere snap of the switch brings at once into service a rosy heat. And here, too, it is so cheerful.
SEASONS to the Toastove, mean only added variety. It offers a grateful relief from the oppressive heat of the Summer kitchen, enabling the light meal to be prepared gaily at the table. To the porch party it adds the finishing enchantment, serving hot and crisp the toasted sandwiches.
In the Winter there is not one of the informal gatherings or set functions to which the Toastove will not add grace and lend its cheer.
To watch a group of people, young and old, toasting marshmallows above its radiant grid - just this is a glad inspiration. And then to do it yourself! There's something so attractive about it, so fascinating.
-Just as there is in popping corn over its clear, intense heat. You marvel. Lightly, quickly, the yellow kernels burst into dancing whiteness as if from pure joy they answer the warmth and cheer of the Toastove.
It surely is a gay entertainer and the conversation it inspires is all of the merriest.
Long after the pleasing novelty of its use has given place to feelings of daily necessity in your home, the cheerie Toastove will command the pointed attention and admiration of your friends. -And for all this lasting wealth of practical, every-day service, of varied entertainment and loads of cheer - how small the investment. The price of the Toastove is five dollars. Electric energy to operate it, costs at the rate of but one cent for every thirty pieces of toast. Unique, attractive, serviceable, ever ready - "cheerie," the Toastove is wanted in your home. You can answer this need.
Call for it.
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