Evolutionary Advances in Toaster Technology

Millions of years ago when primordial soup was the house specialty, a hinged fork (heretofore referred to as HF) rose from the miry depths in a quiet, unheralded debut on planet earth. Not one of the unfinished utensils knew what to do with it, so it was ignored, much like the pet rock.

The evolution of millions of years brought a significant development in the history of the HF. In the eighteenth century, HF discovered a purpose – it could hold bread, which was useful in preventing it from falling into the fire. HF became the prehistoric toaster. However, time, chance and consumer demand dictated a change was needed. In the 1880’s wood and coal stoves (who were on a collision course with their own bit of evolutionary change) propelled HF toward an evolutionary upgrade. Through many years of trial and error, as well naturally selected upgrades, the hinged fork eventually altered its shape to become a tin and wire pyramid-shaped device. People were then able to place the bread inside and the device formerly known as HF used the heat of the stove to effect toasting.

This Advanced Toasting Device (heretofore referred to as ATD) worked for many years, but the ATD was making some gradual and almost indecipherable changes. However, one day the ATD was able to form an alloy of nickel and chromium (Nichrome) much to the surprise of the resident dish and spoon who had developed a chronic case of metallic envy. The ATD eventually shaped the Nichrome into wires. While this was certainly remarkable the ADT suddenly lacked purpose as the Nichrome prevented it from being useful in the art of toast manufacturing.

One day, the transformed, but somewhat useless device was able to form the Nichrome into several strips of wires and it became a heating element. Pioneers of the Old West were impressed, but then who hasn’t been impressed with Nichrome wires. Still of no use to the device, the Nichrome had significant style, but a deficit in function. However, early one afternoon in 1900, a severe lighting storm struck the Nichrome wire strips heating them to an impressive temperature. This historic event caused the Nichrome to glow and toast the bread (and an unsuspecting Cornish game hen). The strips of wire had finally found usefulness as a heating element. Now that the Nichrome Toasting Device (heretofore referred to as NTD) had regained a function, a problem was discovered when the bread used in the manufacture of toast were morphed into an advanced carbon-enriched state.

The NTD affected a period of self-realization and determined it no longer needed a stove or fire to complete its purpose. The NTD sprouted a wire plug, which could be attached to a power source that would heat the elements and toast the bread. The wires were able to harness this new power source to infuse the heating element with tremendous toasting potential. However, this new feature in the evolution of the hinged fork (HF) did not work as a comprehensive toasting mechanism. Bread would quickly burn when it touched the heating element. The surface on which the heating element sat was also subjected to the occasional fire.

In order to adapt to this new environment the NTD formed a wire mesh tray that lay across the heating element. This evolutionary advance kept the bread from touching the wires and the bread could finally be toasted. However the toast had the consistency of Cajun bread crisps. You see, once the heating element received power it stayed hot and never turned itself off which often resulted in small house fires and an impressive electric spark display.

By 1905, the device changed once more by adding a base, which assisted in raising the heating element and wire mesh. This evolutionary adaptation also kept the surface on which it set from burning (which may have been responsible for a temporary decrease in fire insurance costs). Gone were the tin and wire pyramid-shaped appendage as it no longer needed them to toast bread on a stove. This evolutionary advance still did not solve the overheating issue. Bread would be burnt for many years to come.

Rapid evolution in what we currently know as Toaster (heretofore referred to as toaster) allowed such advanced with a flip top and side panel that lowered for toast insertion and bread slice rotation. Slots appeared that aided in lowering bread into the toaster while serving to hold it in place.

Burnt toast remained an issue even with this sizeable evolutionary advance. It was at this time that an adjustable timer attached itself to a spring on the toaster. The timer turned off the heating element and released the spring, causing the toast to eject itself from the toaster. This stopped the burnt toast, but reminded some of the recent advances in trampoline evolution. A variety of models, colors and shapes began to express themselves as the toaster came into its own as an intelligent device.

Bimetal strips, timer circuits and microchips were all expressive of the rapid evolution of the toaster.

Today’s advanced evolutionary organism collectively known as ‘toaster’ can gauge interior moisture of bread as well as standard determinacy of bread types. Additional bread slots were evident and a heat resistant plastic caused noteworthy evolutionary excitement.

A close look at the history of the toaster demonstrates that the toaster evolved gradually with small changes into many of the modern toasting mechanisms currently identified by the International Toasting Assembly.

It has been widely reported in recent scientific data that it is possible the modern toaster oven, conventional stove as well as a rather remarkable industrial bakery serving the Eastern Seaboard may all have links to a common hinged fork ancestry.


No matter if you name it an HF, an ADT, an NTD or simply a toaster the advances in toaster technology were not the result of random chance or primordial soup. Each advance was the result of intelligent testing with a determination to make better toast.

If the absurdity of this example is not lost on you, perhaps the commonly held view of evolution may find newfound skepticism.

So many gaps in evolutionary theory bring about justified reason to doubt the theory at face value and certainly when individual issues are fully considered.

The toaster looks designed because it is designed. Perhaps that’s why you look designed, too.