Why a toaster from 1949 is still smarter than any sold today – Sean Hollister

A Sunbeam Radiant Toaster. | Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

My colleague Tom once introduced you to a modern toaster with two seemingly ingenious buttons: one to briefly lift your bread to check its progress, and another to toast it “a bit more.” I respectfully submit you shouldn’t need a button at all.

That’s because in 1948, Sunbeam engineer Ludvik J. Koci invented the perfect toaster, one where the simple act of placing a slice into one of its two slots would result in a delicious piece of toasted bread. No button, no lever, no other input required. Drop bread, get toast.

Some of you are no doubt already connoisseurs who know what I’m referring to: the Sunbeam Radiant Toaster, sold from 1949 all the way through the late ‘80s. (It goes by many names, including the T-20A, T-20-B, T20-C, T-35,…

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