A toaster is a small
appliance designed to toast
bread, an act also known as 'making toast.' Prior to the development of
the electric toaster, bread was sometimes toasted by placing it in a
metal frame and holding it over a fire.
From Wikibooks, the open-content
Modern toasters are typically
one of three varieties: pop-up toasters, toaster ovens and conveyor
In pop-up toasters, the bread
is inserted vertically into slots (generally only large enough to admit
a single slice of bread) on the top of the toaster. A lever on the side
of the toaster is depressed, activating the toaster. When an internal
device determines that the toasting cycle is complete, the toaster turns
off and the toast pops up out of the slots. The heating elements of a
pop-up toaster are oriented vertically, parallel to the bread.
By comparison, toaster ovens
are small electric ovens with a door on one side and a tray within. To
toast bread with a toaster oven, one lays down slices of bread
horizontally on the tray, closes the door, and activates the toaster,
usually by means of a lever. When the toast is done, the toaster turns
off, but the door must be opened manually. Toaster ovens are capable of
performing most of the functions of ordinary ovens, but on a much
There are models of toasters
that are designed to make many slices of toast used in the catering
industry. These are called conveyor toasters and they are designed for
large-scale use. Bread is added to the conveyor and passed through under
heating elements which toast the bread. Production capacity generally
ranges from 350-800 slices an hour, making conveyor toasters ideal for a
large restaurant that is constantly busy.
In the past, the completion of
the toasting operation was determined by a mechanical timer; the user
could adjust the running time of the timer to determine the degree of
"doneness" of the toast, but the first cycle produced less
toasted toast than subsequent cycles because the toaster was not yet
warmed up. Newer toasters use a thermal device in close proximity to the
toast. This allows the first cycle to run longer than subsequent cycles.
The thermal device is also slightly responsive to the actual temperature
of the toast itself. Like the timer, it can be adjusted by the user to
determine the doneness of the toast.
As with so many home
appliances, the fanciest toaster ovens now use computer controls instead
of electromechanical controls.
Toasters are usually
freestanding, counter-top appliances, although some toaster ovens may be
hung beneath cabinets.
If toast is stuck in a toaster
(which is more likely to happen with a pop-up toaster) it is highly
recommended that one does not attempt to free it by inserting metal
objects such as knives, due to the risk of electric shock.