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Antique toaster sale to benefit local auxiliary

Local resident undertakes restoration to increase value

Staff writer

The sale of an extremely rare Model C Toast O’ Lator toaster at an online auction site for $5,000 happened to pique the interest of St. Luke Auxiliary volunteer Orville Pfeiffer.

That’s part of the reason the volunteer’s eyes at Marion’s St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary Shoppe lit up in late November when an anonymous man dropped off a Model H Toast O’ Lator in nonworking condition.

Aware of the price a Model C sold for back in 2008, Pfeiffer wasted little time getting right to work on the toaster that dated back to 1946.

“The heating element worked, but the tracks weren’t, so we tore it down,” Pfeiffer said. “It was filthy, but we cleaned on it internally and now everything works great. It’s in good shape, there were no new parts used.”

However, the $5,000 sale of the Model C toaster brought a flood of Toast O’ Lators onto the market, making any such windfall from the Model H just a dream.

“We had it on our shelf briefly, but we wanted see what kind of value we could get out of it,” said auxiliary board member Mary Ann Conyers. “When we get things in like that, the guys get to working on them right away.

“Orville offered to take it home to see if he’s able to get a higher price out of it for the hospital. It’s exciting to get things in like that.”

Restored to good condition to everything but a scuff, Pfeiffer originally set the price at $349 before dropping to $310 after seven days.

While the mechanism is entertaining to watch, it’s not the safest with the heating elements posing a fire hazard.

Unlike the pop-up toasters, which came out six years later in 1952, the earlier models were more time-consuming with one piece of bread having to walk through the tract before falling on an awaiting plate.

“They said if you’ve got kids, don’t buy one,” Pfeiffer said. “Just the way it’s designed could be a hazard. Of course, the top (cover) wouldn’t be off, but it’s quite the operation.

“I don’t expect we’ll get $300 for it, but I think $199 or so would be good for us.”

Last modified Dec. 20, 2017

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