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The alloy was a combination of chromium and nickel; it heated up, but didn’t burn out.

This discovery had implications for many of the rising number of household electrical appliances. Five months after Marsh’s patent, George Schneider of American Electric Heater Co. in Michigan was granted a toaster patent. The general consensus is that this toaster did not advance past the drawing book and this piece has never been seen on the open market. In 1909 the first known toaster was patented and named the General Electric 1909 D-12, thus opening up new opportunities in what was a narrow avenue of industrial design.

During the 1920s manufacturers were eager to create the perfect way to make toast. One of the most remarkable designs was the porcelain toaster, featuring a porcelain base for insulation and wire frames to hold the bread on both sides. An example of this type is the Blue Willow pattern (introduced in 1928) was sold at Auction Team Breker’s Technical Antiques sale in Cologne, Germany, on November 25. Today the value of ceramic toasters is determined by condition and the design of the porcelain. Blue Willow is the most desirable pattern. Considered to be an “exhibition piece in perfect condition”, the German auctioneers sold this piece for what was thought to be a record DM5408 (£1820). This includes the 17 per cent buyer’s premium.