And now for the airing of grievances! Can anyone explain why there hasn’t been more progress in toaster technology? If you compare phones, cars, TVs, frozen pizza etc in, say, 1960 to similar items today, the technological improvement has been dramatic, even stunning. But not for the humble toaster. I mean today’s toasters are a little better, but not leaps and bounds better. And most of the improvements are aesthetic rather than substantive. My toaster looks like a toaster of the smartphone generation, but acts like the same sort of toaster Joe Lunchbucket used a half-century ago. Indeed, I’d bet the average person burns their toast just as much today as they did a half-century ago (reliable data on this is hard to find). I ask you: Why, man (or woman), why?
It’s not like there isn’t a market for such things. I’d wager more Americans own toasters than iPhones. It’s not like heating bread is a realm of human technological knowledge that cannot be further advanced (if such a realm exists). More plainly, it is not as if there aren’t technologies at hand today that wouldn’t improve the toasting experience if thoughtfully incorporated into a new generation of toasting devices.
Francis Bacon said the point of science and technology is to provide for the relief of man’s estate. Well, is not toasting part of man’s estate? Has not the procurement, provision and improvement of our daily bread been at the very heart of our existence for millennia? Why then do the men in the white coats simply throw up their hands at some arbitrary line on the toasting map and say, “this far but no farther?” Be there monsters beyond this point? Would a more efficiently heated pop tart be too much for man to handle? Is promethean fire now conducted through the coils of a toaster?
I seek only answers, and perhaps unburnt bagel.