October 17, 2001
Press Release, 01-46
Patent for Bread-Toaster Issued October 18, 1921
The Automatic (Pop-up) Toaster Becomes a Standard in American Households
Charles P. Strite, born in Minneapolis, Minn., received patent #1,394,450 on October 18, 1921 for the bread-toaster. During World War I, Strite worked in a manufacturing plant in Stillwater, Minn., where he became frustrated with the burned toast served in the cafeteria. Strite, determined to find a way of toasting bread that did not depend on human attention, invented the pop-up toaster with a variable timer. In 1925, using a redesigned version of Strite's toaster, the Toastmaster Company began to market the first household toaster that could brown bread on both sides simultaneously, set the heating element on a timer, and eject the toast when finished. By 1926, Charles Strite's Toastmaster was available to the public and was a huge success.
This patent, as well as more than 6 million patents issued since the first in 1790, can be seen on the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov.
Last year USPTO issued 182,223 patents and registered 127,794 trademarks.