Morphy Richards Toaster

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Morphy Richards toaster, model TUID
Manufacturer Morphy Richards
Production years 1948 - 1965
Production location (unknown)

The Morphy Richards toaster, model TUID , was Britain’s first popular automatic toaster. It toasted both sides at the same time – an innovation at the time – and the toast popped up when done so it did not need watching. The device had a long production run into the 60s with various colours and finishes. Timing control was by the heating and cooling time of a bimetallic strip, a novel invention at the time which Morphy Richards patented in 1948 (in the UK).

How it works

The novel aspects of this toaster (which we nowadays take for granted) were that it automatically times the toasting period, automatically pops-up the toast and switches off at the end of the toasting time, and toasts both sides at the same time.

Toasting is started by pressing down the handle which lowers the toasting tray in the slots. This operates the switch which switches on the elements.

This also starts heating a bimetallic strip which forms part of the timer, by passing a current through a heater wire wrapped around it. The strip slowly bends, and when it reaches a certain point, the bimetallic strip heater is disabled (this produces a characteristic click which is heard about half way through the toasting period). The toasting continues, but the bimetallic strip now cools down. When it returns to near its original cold position, it releases a latch which holds down the toasting tray and causes the toaster to pop-up. The pop-up action also switches off the elements.

If more bread is loaded immediately into the toaster and the cycle started again, the bimetallic strip will still be warm, and this will generate a shorter toasting time second and subsequent times. This matches the faster warm-up time of the toaster, and thus still results in about the same level of browning. If the toasting time was the same regardless if the toaster was still warm from a previous use, or cold, then the browning of the toast would be different in these two cases. More detail of this mechanism (3-stage if toaster starting from cold, 2-stage if starting from hot) is given in the patent.

The TUID was in production from 1956 - 1966 [1]

Memories

I remember the toaster being a great piece of technology

anon

Not only do I remember it, I still have one and it is working !! Unfortunately the thermostat has now ceased to function. I would welcome any ideas on how to get a replacement part.

— stephen.fullom@ntlworld.com

I used to repair and sell these. Rarely found one that could not be fixed.

The bi metallic strip travels until a notch is reached on a sprung arm.( That's the click) The notch both cuts the power to the strip and as it cools it pulls the mechanism that causes the pop-up release.

Most common failure is the gunge prevents the sprung notched arm from dropping so power to strip is not cut. 4 screws beneath release case and expose the mechanism.

— scosborn@gmail.com

My parents were given one of these as a wedding present in January 1959 and it has lasted to beyond their golden wedding!

anon

I worked at the Morphy Richard factory in Swinton from 1977 to 1990 and I remember well the TU1D being in production well into the 1980's

— i.craythorn@blueyonder.co.uk

My parents one of these (all chrome) is over 50 years old and still working, although I've had to repair it a few times.

— andrew@cucumber.demon.co.uk

My parents have had one for many years, bought in the early sixties. Now I have seen a TUID on a streetmarket in Schaffhausen-Switzerlannd and is doing well. I have polished the chrome steel and now it is a beauty on our breakfasttable!

— lkw@bluewin.ch

I worked at the Original Morphy richards factory in St. Mary Cray, Kent for 17 years from 1952, where the toaster was first produced. The first model was the TA1 which was soon superceded by the TA1B. This was then followed by the TU1D which continued in production until the factory moved to Swinton.(My mother was the Senior supervisor on the toaster production line for many years) The timing device was developed by Mr Morphy and was a fore-runner in toasting machines. The quality control was extremely tight and only the best were allowed to go out to the shops for sale. I know of the location of the machines that were used to automatically wind the elements for these and they are still in working order!

— tonyearthy@sky.com

In the Science Museum

The Science Museum borrowed a Morphy Richards model TUID in 2008, for the exhibition called Dan Dare and the Birth of High Tech Britain. The toaster was a loan from Paul Linnell, who has had a large collection of household appliances for many years. Inv: L2008-4016.

Dan Dare & the Birth of Hi-Tech BritainThis object is currently on display in the Dan Dare & the Birth of Hi-Tech Britain exhibition at the Science Museum, London.

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