The Toaster Project chronicles Thomas Thwaites’ attempt to make an electric toaster from scratch – seeking iron, copper, mica, nickel and crude oil (for the plastic case) from disused mines and other sources around Britain, attempting to process these materials at home, and finally forming them into a version of a product that can be bought for only a few dollars. This nine-month process to make a simple toaster is absurd, but perhaps so too is the massive industrial activity we pursue to achieve additional small comforts at ever lower prices.
The laboriousness of producing even the most basic material from the ground up exposes the fallacy in a return to some romantic ideal of a pre-industrialised time. But at a moment in time when the effects of industry on the environment are no longer trivial even on a global scale, the throwaway toasters of today seem absurd themselves.

Materials used:
An electric toaster, made from scratch, and a collection of objects that were used in its production. Includes two microwaves, a melted ceramic furnace powered by hairdryers, a 2-part compression mould carved from a wooden tree trunk, water cooler bottles filled with dirty water from a mine, a camping stove and buckets.

#Speculative Design #Design Research


Dream Bigger Dream Smaller

Project name

The Toaster Project


Thomas Thwaites



Origin of company