1905 Electric Toaster had open design with heating coils in the middle. Toast had to be turned by hand to brown both sides. It would cost $150 in today's dollars.
Electricity is something most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, unless your power goes out. Why am I writing about electricity?
While waiting for my toast to pop up this morning, I was absently thinking of appliances. WOW, imagine a time when there were no appliances?
How did Thomas Edison’s 1879 invention of a reliable, long-lasting electric light bulb bring electricity and the invention of appliances into homes?
Small electrical stations based on Edison’s designs were in a number of US cities by the end of the 1880s but most Americans still lit their homes with gas light and candles for another fifty years. By 1930, the majority of people living in larger towns and cities had electricity but only 10 percent of Americans who lived on farms and in rural areas had electric power.
To bring electricity into households, Edison thought of a system that used the home’s existing piping as its framework. But, with this system, there was no convenient way of tapping into the power for anything other than light.
Light Socket Adapter
Harvey Hubbell designed a “Separable Attachment Plug” that was wired to an appliance and homeowners didn’t have to deal with connecting live wires from the home to the appliance. He later improved his design by making it with one portion that could be left in the socket and the other was a two-prong plug that was attached to the appliance and could be separated from the socket plug. His plug also let you “leave the lights on” while using your appliance. Light-socket connections for appliances persisted into the 1920s. I remember seeing these sockets in the ceiling light sockets in the basement of my grandparents house.
An article by James Ryan published in October 1929 included an itemized list of the 7 to 11 electric appliances commonly found in homes. These were: washing machines; vacuum cleaners; refrigerators; flat irons; toasters; curling irons; percolators; heating pads; corn poppers; vibrators; and manglers (used to iron sheets)