LINCOLN AREA ARCHIVES MUSEUM
Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.
When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays
Free: Donations always accepted
Wow! We had almost 30 replies about the Aug. 23 mystery item.
We hope we can top that number this week.
If you know what this week’s item is and whether you or someone you know used it, please send answers to firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday.
Last week’s mystery item is a toaster. But many of you knew that!
Diane Kroll: This week's item is really no mystery at all. It's a toaster for warming bread/English muffins over a gas stove. That would be either an in-house gas stove or a camping stove. I believe we still have one of those in our camping supplies. We have used it for many years.”
Wayne R. Bullen: “The item is a camping toaster to toast bread on a camp stove.”
Bill Lane: “Toaster. Still have one in our camping gear. Are we old or what?”
Steve Smith: “I remember using a stove-top toaster like the one pictured when my family went on weekend and vacation trips to a primitive cabin near Big Bear Lake, California during and just after World War II.”
Dianna Conklin: “This is a toaster to be used over an open flame. I sure could have used this last week when dry camping at Fallen Leaf Lake. They work great for toasting bread: just lean the bread slices against the open metal slots, the heat comes up and gives you a nice toasting and then you flip the bread around to get the other side. Very cool!”
Vickie Fritz: “This week’s mystery item is a toaster that sets on a gas burner of the cooking stove. When the bread is as dark as you want, you take it off and reverse the bread to toast it on the other side.”
Mary Brown: “The Aug. 23 mystery item is an antique four-slice toaster. You put bread slices onto it and place it on a stove top. I remember my grandparents in Iowa using one way back when I was a little girl. They used it on their wood-burning stove in their farmhouse. Fun to see one again!”
Jean Ebenholtz: “One slice of bread (probably white bread, rectangular/square slice in those days) was placed on each of the four sides of this non-mechanical toaster. The slices were balanced on the little feet at the bottom and the conical shape permitted the slice to lean against the toaster, which was placed over the flame on a stove. As I recall, you had to watch carefully to be sure that the toast did not burn and then you turned each slice so that the bread was toasted on both sides.”
Tex and Linda Musser: “The item is a toaster. One slice of bread on each side and place on stove. Still works great when camping.”
Jo Obscura: “The item this week is an old toaster. It could be used for camping open fire or stove top in the house.”
Rosalie Phelps: “The mystery item is a vintage stove top toaster.”
Karen Roberts: “It is a toaster used to put on top of a gas stove or a camp stove to make toast. Browns it on one side, then you flip the bread to the other side. Thus, you have toasted bread. “
Mel Bowen answered long-distance: “Greeting from Alaska. It’s a toaster for a gas stove burner. Place it over the burner with bread on the brackets to toast them.”
Carolyn Graves: “We used to have one of these toasters. It is used to toast bread on an open flame, such as a gas stove or campfire. We used it when we went camping. We would put a grate on the campfire and set the toaster on that and then lean the bread against the four sides of the toaster.”
Barry Johnson: “The item in the Aug. 23 Messenger is a toaster. My family used one, mainly when out camping. You put the pieces of bread on the sides and place it over a flame. It can hold four pieces of bread but it never toasted very evenly like electric toasters.”
Jim and Linda Kenney: “It is a campfire toaster. One could use it over a campfire, gas burner, Coleman stove or any source of reasonable heat. We used one with our Girl Scout troops when camping. The only issue is keeping tabs on the toast and turning over, or removing it, before you had a piece of charcoal. When run by someone with some skill, it produces toast as good as, or better than, especially over a campfire, than the electric toaster at home. The only real downside is that it is difficult to use with thick slices of bread or things like bagels.”
Al and Jan Beeson: “Your mystery item is a toaster that goes on top of the cook stove over a burner for toasting slices of bread. It can toast four slices at the same time. Jan's mother used one when she was younger but it was a different shape and style. Hers was flat.”
Joan Logue: “This is a ‘toaster’ that you place on a gas burner. I used one for years in our camper. You had to turn the bread over to toast the other side.”
Jim Crawford: “We used this camping when I was little. It's a camp stove toaster. I think it came with runny eggs too.”
Larry Lynn: “This week’s item is a four-slice non-electric toaster. Used in camping or a wood stove.”
Anne C. Birge: “It's a four-slice toaster. My husband, Ray, used his for decades, while camping.”
Jim Kerbey: “It looks like an old-fashioned toaster. Put the bread under the clips on the side and set it on top of a gas burner on the stove. Coleman even today makes a collapsible one for camping.”
Diane Bogush, Debbi Gulliford, Lorrie Gentz, Mike Stollmeyer, Pat and Dave Barnhill, and Sharlene Zielinski also said it was a toaster.
Vintage tin, pyramid, folding, camping toasters were around in 1900, according to the Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents.
The toasters can be used in the kitchen, as long as there is a heat source.
Four pieces of bread can be held in the device. Hinged tin supporters are dropped down to manually insert the bread. The cook would watch with care because the bread needs to be turned by lowering the support for each piece and flipping the bread over to toast both sides. It was easy to burn fingers if the individual was not paying attention.
The folding toasters are easily folded and tucked in with other camping gear. Campfires present the heat for use when camping.
In 1909, electric toasters were invented but weren’t automatic. Pop-up toasters came on the scene 10 years later.
Check out the Lincoln Area Archives Museum at 640 5th St. for a fascinating look at early Lincoln.