5ToastersLarry and Ann Ivings’ toaster collection numbers over 100. Photo by Laurelle Walsh

 

BY LAURELLE WALSH

“We probably should have contacted the newspaper a long time ago,” mused soon-to-depart Twisp resident Larry Ivings, assessing the 100-plus toasters that line the wall of his daylight basement. “It just never occurred to us to tell somebody about our collection.”

Larry and Ann Ivings’ toaster collection has been over 20 years in the making, and moved with them to Twisp from Whidbey Island around 15 years ago. The couple is preparing to relocate again, moving southward to Dallesport, Wash., at the end of the month.

The two always loved stopping at antiques stores around the Northwest and on frequent road trips to the east coast, and one day Larry spotted a wire-coil toaster that “he had never seen before,” recalls Ann. “Pretty soon it just snowballed. It gave Larry something to look for when we went to antique stores.”

Ann herself collected Fenton Glass for her blue-and-white kitchen for years. “We are both natural collectors,” Larry said. “You look and look and find nothing and then you start finding ones you really like. It’s a lot of fun.”

Larry recalls seeing a blue-and-white porcelain toaster on a high shelf in a Coupeville, Wash., antique shop many years ago. It was priced at $65. “I thought at the time, ‘Wow. That’s a lot of money for an old toaster,’” he said.

Time passed, and the Ivings’ knowledge and collection grew, and today they say that the Coupeville toaster is valued at $2,500, according to the volume Toasters 1909-1960. “Isn’t that crazy?” marveled Larry.

The Ivings now own several references on antique toasters and a small booklet that Ann’s friend put together, which showcases their collection as of 2003. “We’ve added some since then,” Ann said.

“There are all different types of toasters,” said Larry. The U.S., Canadian and British companies that manufactured them “must have been trying to outsmart each other with unusual designs,” he added. “I like off-the-wall stuff.”

One toaster that particularly delights them runs off a chain drive, Larry said. “You put the bread in one end and it comes out the other side toasted. And there’s a little round window that you can watch it through,” he said.

That chain-drive toaster is already packed away for the move, as is a “flip type” with a spider web motif, a heart-shaped device in which the bread spins around before coming out toasted, and a GE D-12 from 1909, “one of the first ever made,” according to Ann.

The rest of the collection is for sale, they say, and they would like to keep it together, if possible. In addition to the toasters, they have half-a-dozen shiny waffle irons and hot plates, and four all-in-one breakfast makers. Anyone interested in the collection can call the Ivings at 997-4033.

As for them, “We are done buying toasters,” said Ann, adding after a pause, “unless he saw something he couldn’t live without.”