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Toast rack

Toast rack

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1892-1895 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    William R Deykin & Son (manufacturer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Electroplated nickel silver

  • Museum number:

    M.46-2000

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125b, case 2

Object Type
The toast rack, for holding slices of toasted bread on the breakfast, tea or dinner table, has been used in Britain since the late 18th century. Toasting forks, for browning the slices of bread over the fire, exist from the 16th century. In the 18th century 'toast machine' was another name for the toast rack. Toast racks were made in a variety of styles, from the more ornate, architectural form of this example to simple wire loops on a wire base.

Ownership & Use
Cookery books and household manuals took the making and serving of toast very seriously. In 1861 Mrs Beeton advised

'Never use new bread for making any kind of toast, as it eats heavy, and, besides is very extravagant. Procure a loaf of household bread about two days old; cut off as many slices as may be required, not quite ¼ in thickness; turn off the crusts and ragged edges, put the bread on a toasting fork and hold it before a very clear fire'.

Manufacturer
The manufacturer of this toast rack was William R. Deykin & Sons. This firm was one of a number of Birmingham manufacturers that commercially exploited the new technique of electroplating in order to expand their business. Deykin & Sons specialised in making gilt buttons until 1854 when it introduced electroplated wares.

Materials & Making
This toast rack was made by the new manufacturing process of electroplating, which was developed by Elkington & Co. The firm was founded in Birmingham, West Midlands, by George Richard Elkington (1801-1865) and his cousin Henry Elkington (about 1810-1852). In this method a thin layer of silver is deposited on a base metal by the action of an electric current. Elkington & Co. revolutionised the silver and plating trades all over the world by marketing electroplate as a cheaper substitute for silver. The electroplating technique enabled consumers to buy objects that looked like silver, and which conveyed wealth and status, at a price that many could afford.

Physical description

Electroplated toast rack with seven openwork partitions to support the toast and a vertical scrolled carrying handle. The partitions are supported by an openwork tray set on four bulbous feet.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)

Date

1892-1895 (made)

Artist/maker

William R Deykin & Son (manufacturer)

Materials and Techniques

Electroplated nickel silver

Dimensions

Height: 17 cm including handle, Width: 16.5 cm, Depth: 11 cm

Object history note

Manufactured by William R. Deykin & Son , Birmingham
Usually for serving 4 to 8 slices of dry toast. Earlier examples are formed of a single row of vertical posts on a wire-ring base that supported the slices, but later ones have circular wire loops (occasionally flat openwork partitions) to separate the slices. A similar example can be found in the Elkington & Co. catalogue of 1869. For a seven bar toast rack in electroplate, the price is £1 4s.
Mrs Beeton, in her 'Book of Household Management' (1861) gives directions on the making of toast, which was eaten dry or soaked in water : "Never use new bread for making any kind of toast, as it eats heavy, and besides, is very extravagant. Procure a loaf of household bread about two days old; cut off as many slices as may be required, not quite 1/4 inch in thickness; turn off the crusts and ragged edges, put the bread on a toasting-fork, and hold it before a very clear fire. As soon as each piece is ready, it should be put into a rack, or stood upon its edges, and sent quickly to table. To make dry toast properly, a great deal of attention is required; much more, indeed, than people generally suppose". (p.824)

Descriptive line

Electroplated nickel silver toast rack, made by William R.Deykin and Sons, Birmingham 1892-5.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
In her book, 'Household Management', published in 1861, Mrs Beeton advised her public on the best way to make and serve toast.' As soon as each piece is ready, it should be put into a rack, or stood upon its edges, and sent quickly to table. To make dry toast properly, a great deal of attention is required; much more, indeed, than people generally suppose'. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Reason For Production: Retail

Materials

Nickel silver

Techniques

Electroplating

Categories

Metalwork; Food vessels & Tableware; Eating; British Galleries

Production Type

Mass produced

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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