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.
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