A Toast to Toast Racks

I recently added to the Vintage Eve’s shop, and quickly sold, a lovely little silver-plated toast rack. In researching how to price it, I saw so many pretty toast racks it made me wonder how far back these go? Also, when did they actually start making toast? So of course that led me to when did they decide they needed a rack to stand them up and why?

Here is a picture of the toast rack that started this short jaunt.

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William Hutton & Sons Toast Rack 1930s

The top is a little squished, but it is almost 100-years old, and one must forgive some flaws in a piece that old. Here’s a unique one in Lusterware from the 40s.

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1940s Lusterware Toast Rack (available at Tiny China Vintage)

According to a New York Times article, toast has been around for awhile. It comes from the Latin “Torrere” which means “to burn.” While burnt toast isn’t the ideal, they actually originally used toast to flavor alcohol. They usually used stale bread that would hold up to toasting in the fire. They had toasting forks so they could hold the toast in the fire until it was just the right color.

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James Deakin Toast Rack 1900s Art Nouveau (available at Vintage and Deco)

The first toast racks seem to have come into existence sometime in the late 1700s, that comes from a mix of different sources. They all seem to agree that the 1770s is about the right time. They were simple devices at the beginning, just wire soldered to a tray type of thing. They got more elaborate as people started using them.

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James Dixon Toast Rack 1910s (available at Museography)

They were used because it kept the toast from getting soggy and the crumbs would get caught in the tray, keeping everything neat and tidy. There are some really wonderful examples of toast racks out there.

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Edwardian Era Toast Rack (available at White Hart Antiques)

People tend to use these as letter holders these days, or they did until email took the place of snail mail. Time marches on, you know. I’m sure we’ll find another use for these. Maybe we might even go back to using them for toast!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this foray into toast racks. Enjoy your week!