History of Toast: Traveling Over 2K Years in The Past

Toaster on a Plate

Toast–something that is enjoyed by many at breakfast and with lunch or dinner. Have you ever wondered who came up with the idea of toasting bread? Let’s look at the history of toast!

The History of Toast

While toast is a common food today, it has only been around for a couple of thousand years. We’ve come a long way in how toast is made and today’s consumers have plenty of options for appliances to make this tasty food.

Who Invented Toast?

The practice of toasting bread is thought to have originated with the ancient Romans. Since bread was perishable, they wanted a way to preserve it so that it would last longer. They discovered that toasting the bread would allow for longer storage.

Bread, as we know it today, started being made about 6000 to 8000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians. But the earliest known evidence of bread-making comes from an archeological site in the Middle East that dates back 11,000 to 14,000 years ago.

When Was Toast Invented?

Toast was invented around 2000 years ago, during the Roman Empire. The word toast comes from the Latin word tostum, which means to burn or scorch. Originally, toast was made by placing bread on a hot stone in front of a fire. Later, bread would be placed on sticks or wire frames and cooked over the fire.

There were also toasting forks that could be used to cook toast over a fire. George Harold, an American from Brooklyn, New York, created a toasting fork that was patented in 1865. It consisted of spring tongs and clamped ends to hold the bread.

The first electric toaster was made in 1893 and was called the Eclipse Toaster. Alan Macmasters, a Scottish man, invented this toaster. It was not very popular and was a fire hazard since it had exposed wiring.

More toasters were invented in the early 1900s, however most of these only toasted one side of the bread at a time. People would need to flip the bread and then toast the other side.

I wrote a separate article on the history of toasters. Make sure to check it out if you’d like to know more about the Eclipse Toaster and everything that came afterward.

Toast as We Know it Today

It wasn’t until 1921 that a modern, pop-up toaster was patented. American Charles Strite invented a toaster that automatically stopped toasting once the desired crispness was reached. His patent also included an enclosed casing for the bread to be toasted in and the ability to toast multiple slices of bread at one time.

Today, almost every home has a toaster or a toaster oven that can be used for toasting bread. People enjoy their toast in a variety of ways. In Australia, a favorite way to eat toast is with the yeasty spread Vegemite. In the United Kingdom, it’s common to eat brown beans on toast, while Americans tend to favor peanut butter or jam.

Let’s Toast to Toast!

With thousands of years making toast, our love for toasted bread doesn’t come as a surprise. From ancient campfires to modern-day kitchens, toasted bread made its way through the history making toasters the appliance we can’t go without.

Larry Flynn

Hi everyone! My name is Larry Flynn and I've been working in the kitchen appliance industry for decades. From manufacturing to retail and everything in between. My latest hobby is running this website, where I share all the knowledge I gathered throughout the years in the industry. I also run a small toaster repair shop in downtown NY, and collect vintage toasters.

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