The Historical Text Archive: Electronic History Resources, online since 1990 Bringing you digitized history, primary and secondary sources

Toaster oven

For simplicity and ease of use nothing beats a toaster oven. Some people might argue and say a microwave is more convient. I ask you this can a microwave make your pizza hot and crispy? Can a microwave toast your English muffin?

The first toaster ovens were basically metal containers either placed into a fire or had a fire pit below them. The idea was to heat the metal in order to cook or toast the food. An example of an old style of toaster over is the pizza oven. The pizza oven consists of a metal or rock compartment heated usually by wood. The whole oven becomes hot however the highest temperature is reached in the opening or “hole”.

As electricity was connected to more and more homes the need for a quick smoke free oven was needed. Companies such as Sears and Amana developed electric ovens for the home. People were pleased with the results but the size and expense of the ovens made them difficult to move. Once an oven was in place it was staying there till replaced.

As the population grew and more and more people went to college there developed a need for a small portable oven.

By the mid 1930’s the electric oven was on its way to replacing traditional gas and wood based ovens. The Sunbeam and the Westinghouse companies in particular were and still is a major force in electric and toaster ovens.

As a by product of the electric stove the first electric toaster oven was invented in 1910. A gentleman named William Hadawy who designed the first electric stove also invented the toaster. William developed the idea for the Westinghouse Corporation who is still a leading producer of toaster ovens today.

As technology continues to evolve toaster ovens will become lighter, less expensive and even easier to use. Next time you are toasting an English muffin remember your oven has a long history.