Toast-o-Lator mania: March of the Muffins

So I am about to turn off the computer and go to sleep. My blog post for the a.m. is all set. But then I look at my emails one last time and get an intriguing message from Jason. He is responding to Tuesday’s story about the $10,099 vintage Toast-o-Lator sold on ebay. He writes:

I have a “Toast-O-Lator” Model “J”. It’s a fascinating machine, although somewhat dangerous. Check this out.

I am hooked. I postpone other post. I program Toast-o-Lator and the March of the Muffins. Now, I must know more about Toast-o-Lators and the people who stalk them. Who pay $10,099 for 1938 demonstrator model C’s. Who make ridiculously ridiculous YouTube videos about them. What are those gear thingies inside? Why are they dangerous? Why don’t I eat more English muffins? Jason, please answer my email in return, or tell all in Comments, below. Oh my, this one makes me very happy and in love all over again with the blog and all the things I learn and especially, the wicked funny people I meet with their nutty and absolutely fantabulous pursuits.


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  1. Gavin Hastings says

    Oh…the Toast-O-Lator!!!
    In the 1920’s and 30’s the world was on a toaster kick….honestly.

    What I find so amazing about this machine is that somewhere in a Board Room (think Hudsucker Proxy) high atop a skyscraper in NYC….someone said:
    “I HAVE AN IDEA!!!!……”

    Danger? Only that after 2 or 3 peices of toast it becomes a 14×12 piece of shiney molten heat! And I always wonderd if those coils are wrapped around asbestos panels……

    • Jason says

      Ha ha! Pam, I’m so glad you are finding this little device as amusing as I do! Did you know that there is actually a Toast-O-Lator facebook fan page? Seriously! Gavin is quite right about the era’s fascination with all things toaster, and that a major flaw of the Toast-O-Lator (what makes it so dangerous) is that when it is turned on, it becomes akin to “Pele”.

      To satisfy Gavin’s curiosity, I can tell you that the heating coils in the Toast-O-Lator are [EDITED BY PAM WHO SAYS: Do not take anyone’s advice on the internet regarding where asbestos may or may not be – consult with PRO’s!] ~ they are kinda free-floating, held in position by a few ceramic insulators. The MOST dangerous aspect of this configuration is that the coils come within millimeters of the (non-insulated) metal sides of the toaster……….which means that a slight shift of the coil can make it touch the sides (housing) of the toaster and give the unsuspecting toast-preparer a shockingly nasty surprise. That said, provided the heating coils are tight and sound, and the machine isn’t jostled or touched when in use, it’s a fun thing to play with. It’s hard to stop feeding the Toast-O-Lator ~ watching the bread march through until it performs its satisfying little plop onto a waiting plate.

      My Toast-O-Lator is a more-common Model “J”, and is coded as having been manufactured in 1948. I found mine at a local flea market for almost nothing, as the seller had no idea what it was (LOVE that!). Prior to that, even after much searching, I had never seen one anywhere except online. It was in good condition, and retained its original cloth-covered power cord and plug (both also in good condition). I carefully disassembled the thing to ensure that it was complete, cleaned it, and re-assembled it. It now operates just as originally intended. I display it proudly on my kitchen counter along with a few other vintage mechanical appliances (that I DO use on occasion). As we’ve just discovered, it’s a great conversation starter! 🙂

      To answer just about any question one may have about the Toast-O-Lator, please see this wonderfully entertaining site:

      The gentle reader may, just may, fall head-over-heels. 😉

      • Gavin Hastings says

        How many plastic green Army Soldiers marched to their death in a Toast-O-Lator?

        How do you convince a child that the toaster is not a toy????

        • Jason says

          I know, right? It must’ve been tempting, as I can hardly stop from feeding it more bread once it’s done with the initial pieces. I can only imagine what other items may have attempted to make the crossing.

  2. Katy says

    Wow… I just killed 3:49 minutes of my life watching a super cool toaster toast some english muffins. Pretty good start to my day – ha ha!

    • Amy Hill says

      I was thinking something along the same lines…I need to get a life! Watching muffins toast is akin to watching grass grow or paint dry.

      Time for another cup of joe.

  3. Elizabeth Mary says

    Made me think it could have been an inspiration for the Quizno’s toasting machines so many years later.

    And, the BIG question: Are those muffins hot when they come out? Will the butter melt into the nooks and crannies?

  4. says

    Oh, how I want one! I wonder how I would sneak it into the kitchen without my husband finding out that I spent over 10G on it…I wonder if I would be able to anything ELSE but feed it muffin after muffin, and I don’t even LIKE English muffins…I bet it wouldn’t fit a bagel…unless it was sliced in THREE!!…well worth the potential wounds!

  5. says

    I wonder if that’s why my parents had. When ever the subject of toasters comes up (it must be a popular subject), my Mom always talks about a toaster with a “conveyor belt” that she wishes she still had. If it would’ve been worth that much by now, then yeah, Mom. Duh!

  6. Shane Walp says

    That IS a kool toaster. I have a regular fold down side toaster from 1936 but it’s VERY manual compared with this one! LOL It was my great grandma’s toaster. She gave it to my Mom and Dad for their travel trailer when they were moving from Texas to Alaska back in ’59. So, it has kool family history!

  7. pam kueber says

    another reminder that asbestos can be anywhere, faithful readers. don’t take ANYONE’s advice online as to where it may or may not be. consult with a pro yourself –

      • pam kueber says

        PEOPLE: Like i said, regarding asbestos (and other legacy materials that may be in your home or vintage stuff): Consult with pro’s. Do not take such advice from the internet.

  8. sandie sinatra says

    Jason & Pam: OMG! This was sooo funny!! I especially loved the credits rolling at the end of the video! I was laughing right out loud! Very clever! LOL I’ve never seen anything like this toaster, but that’s just one of the joys of this site – seeing and learning about “new” retro stuff!!! Thanks!!!! 🙂

  9. Annie B. says

    Wouldn’t you know it! Big Brother won’t let me view the video, dang it!

    All this makes me want to remember where I last stored my Toast-ite.

  10. G.G. says

    Nice Toaster- I have a c. 1955 Sunbeam Radiant Control which is pretty cool, but this Toas-o-lator has it beat!

  11. nina462 says

    makes me want to get that old toaster out of my Mom’s basement that she offered me a while back. Hmmmm! It’s not a Toast a lator, but it is an old vintage one from the 30’s I think.
    hmmm & I know right where it is too!
    thanks for sharing this enjoyable little movie

  12. Northside CJ says

    Oh that is too cool. I want one for my collection. I’m addicted to vintage appliances, yet I can’t see myself paying over 10k for a toaster. Thanks for sharing. Who knew that watching muffins toast could be so entertaining. Beats my vintage GE for the novelty factor by quite a bit.

  13. terry mead says

    I have recently come to own a toast o later its a model c and I have no idea what it is worth could someone help me please its in great condition and works well

    • pam kueber says

      terry, we do not do valuations here. one place to check for possible comps: Sold Listings on ebay.

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