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The Toaster Project
Or A Heroic Attempt to Build a Simple Electric Appliance from Scratch

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5 x 7.5 inches (12.7 x 19.1 cm)
Paperback
192 pages
83 color illustrations, 60 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 09/23/2011
Rights: World
ISBN: 9781568989976
Price: $19.95
"Hello, my name is Thomas Thwaites, and I have made a toaster." So begins The Toaster Project, the author's nine-month-long journey from his local appliance store to remote mines in the UK to his mother's backyard, where he creates a crude foundry. Along the way, he learns that an ordinary toaster is made up of 404 separate parts, that the best way to smelt metal at home is by using a method found in a fifteenth-century treatise, and that plastic is almost impossible to make from scratch. In the end, Thwaites's homemade toaste, a haunting and strangely beautiful object, cost 250 times more than the toaster he bought at the store and involved close to two thousand miles of travel to some of Britain's remotest locations. The Toaster Project may seem foolish, even insane. Yet, Thwaites's quixotic tale, told with self-deprecating wit, helps us reflect on the costs and perils of our cheap consumer culture, and in so doing reveals much about the organization of the modern world.


Thomas Thwaites is a designer who completed his Masters in Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art in 2009. His work has received several awards and is exhibited internationally, at galleries in London, Dublin, Rotterdam, and Tokyo. Based in London, he is currently working on a commission from the Wellcome Trust.

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