We owe Tandrow


Scruffy says:

Dear OWG,
Did white people invent the toaster?

Yes, the earliest toaster, as we know it, seems to have been used circa 1844 by Bartholomew T. Tandrow, purveyor to the Royal Navy, who provided dried bread as provisions on Her Majesty’s ships.

It was found rather early on that dried bread lasted longer, and was lighter to transport, than moist bread.

Tandrow’s “toaster” predates sliced bread, so it cannot be said to be the greatest thing since.  Whole loaves were processed in his coal-fired factory in East Rottmouth, Crummingshire.

Tandrow demonstrated to the Marchioness of Shriveplaster that his drying process  minimized the coal soot deposited on the bread, since it was not roasted directly on the fire, but placed in an iron box loaded with white-hot iron rods. This, and marrying the
Marchioness’ ugly cousin, secured him the Navy contract.

For transferring the iron rods from fire to toaster, orphans were usually employed, since only children’s fingers were small enough to push the rods into their assigned slots, and retrieve them later.  As this process often burned away fingertips in short order, the orphans deemed to have the least hand skill were often sold to Tandrow.  Hence the common exclamation:  “You’re toast!” when a child demonstrates clumsiness by breaking something.

The toast was packed into one-ton crates for loading onto ships and marked as supplies for the crew to distinguish it from munitions, tackle, and other stores.  To this day, a piece of dried-out bread is called a “crew-ton” after the familiar markings on such crates.

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2 Responses to We owe Tandrow

  1. I *love* food history. Thank you! I never considered the invention of toast–cool!

  2. LOVE the Bill O’Lie-ly pic. Spot on!!

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