Dedicated to the
Classic Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster
From the late 1940's to 1997, the
upscale toaster market was dominated by this classic from Sunbeam. Its
sophisticated lines, art deco styling, and consistent toasting quality
made it a pleasure both to the eyes and the palate.
Going out of production at about
the time of the rise of the Web, the T-20 and its progeny (the T-35,
VT-40, 20-30, and AT-W, among others) have been popular items on eBay.
Aging boomers recalling mom's or gramma's kitchen have dumped their
$9.99 plastic WalMart disposable wedding-gift toasters and have come
back home to a warm, shiny friend.
Why the Radiant
The Sunbeam Radiant Control toaster
is a classic for several
reasons. It's beauty is apparent. But its real appeal is in its
performance. Sunbeam called it Automatic Beyond Belief. There are
no levers to press down. Just put the bread in the slot. The weight of
the bread activates the heating elements, causing the center wire to
lengthen microscopically and the bread to be carried into the toaster
under its own weight.
the Radiant Control thermostat monitors the heat radiated (not
conducted) from the outer
surface of the bread, which is directly proportional to its color change. There are no timers. The toast is raised only when
it is properly toasted; no sooner and no later.
When the thermostat opens, the
elements cool, and the center element wire contracts. This movement is
very small — on the order of thousandths of an inch — but a
mechanical linkage multiplies this movement approximately 175 times.
This is sufficient to operate the carriage and raise the toasted bread
from the toaster.
Once a person has experienced a
Radiant Control toaster, the common response is, "This is how all toasters should
work." One couldn't express the understated elegance of this
toaster more succinctly.
About this Site
This site is dedicated to telling
the story of the Sunbeam Radiant Control toaster line. It is maintained by a
dedicated collector. Not of antiques, but of toasters. And not of any
toaster, but Sunbeam toasters. Not all Sunbeam toasters, but Sunbeam
Radiant Control toasters. Over time this site will grow to fully document this
collection, thus making this private treasure trove available for the
world to enjoy.
This site is under continuous
construction as the collection is photographed and documented. For now,
enjoy the few pictures that are here and get a taste of what's to come.
Click here for the Gallery
Text and photographs on
this site Copyright © 2005, 2006 by Craig Rairdin. All Rights Reserved. If
you wish to use photos or text from this site, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are quick to grant permission to those who request it, and quick to
prosecute those who do not.
About the images.
The banner across the top of this site is scanned from a 1950's
advertising display. The slogan was painted on a clear plastic panel
that is lit from behind. When placed on a flat-bed scanner, the letters
cast their own drop shadow; there's no PhotoShop effects here. The
photograph at the top of the page is of a T-20 A, one of the early
toasters in the collection. It is in mint, unused condition. The button
above is taken from the same advertising display that the banner is
from. The display can be seen in the Gallery.