Toaster, in box, 'Sunbeam Toast n Crumpets', plastic/metal/paper, Sunbeam Corporation Ltd, Australia, 1989
Toasters have always been an important part of Sunbeam's product range. The Sunbeam pop-up toaster was first launched in Australia in 1955, as the appliance revolution took off in Australia. This 'Toast two/toast'n'crumpets' toaster was designed in 1989 in response to increasing market competition from imported products. The design team were given 18 months to create a new toaster, and only 18 more months to make enough profit from sales to 'pay back' the money invested in their salaries, research, design, tooling and packaging.
The resulting toaster has a single slot wide enough for crumpets and muffins, electronic control of toast colour, and dual cooking elements that can cook crumpets more on one side than the other. The toaster uses an innovative 'in line' toasting configuration that also enables crumpets to be toasted without burning or getting caught (a feature unique to the range when released). Sunbeam patented these features and wide-slot crumpet toasters are now made by other manufacturers under agreement with the company. The overall design was made simple enough to suit most kitchens and still look modern for years to come without redesign. Another cost saver was the 'snap' together assembly that uses no screws or welds. The range won an Australian Design Award in 1989.
The toaster was designed by Richard Hoare, Ian Wilson and Bernie Fehan at Sunbeam Corporation design section in 1989. Australian Registered Design number 103603.
The 'Toast two/ toast n crumpet' range incorporates new toasting technology that controls the toast colour with great accuracy. It uses an innovative 'in line' toasting configuration that also enables crumpets to be toasted without burning or getting caught (a feature unique to the range when released). The finished on the outside of the toaster insulate the user against flesh burns. The toaster is assembled using a 'snap together' (no screws) technique.
Electric toasters date to the early 20th century when they were considered to be a modern luxury. By mid-century, toasters were fully enclosed and had pop-up devices to deliver the cooked toast, the later 20th century has seen aesthetic and technological (mainly browning control and variety such as crumpet and muffin slots) change to toasters to meet competition in a more design conscious and discriminating market.
Sunbeam products have dominated the Australian market in the post WWII period by establishing themselves as well made, reliable but expensive products of 'quality'. Sunbeam has pursued and attained a reliable market niche for its products as the ideal, conservative wedding present. In the 1980s Sunbeam products failed in competition with imported products (mainly from West Germany and Japan) on the basis of cost and appearance.
The Sunbeam Corporation embarked on redesign of its 'big five' products (toaster, kettle, iron, food mixer and frypan) in 1986 to recover market share. The 'Toast two/ toast n crumpet' range were the third of these five products that started making a profit again. The range won an Australian Design Award in 1989.