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English Artist Makes a Toaster from Scratch to Make a Point

An English artist named Thomas Thwaites is trying to make a toaster from scratch and he's not kidding around. He's extracting the metal himself and will attempt to make plastic from oil. His model is this toaster (left), which sells in the UK for a few pounds.Needless to say, this is difficult. The picture below is of the apparatus he built to melt ore to get some iron (a critical component of any commercial toaster). He tried to melt the ore in a chimney with a bunch of hair driers. That didn't work, and neither did his attempt to melt it with a leaf-blower. He was finally able to get iron using a microwave oven. Now he has enough iron to make one of those bars that holds the bread.He still has to make the electrical plug, the internal wires, the heating element, the case, and everything else. He's hoping to have a functioning toaster by summertime.Thwaites, a student at the Royal College of Art in London, describes the point of The Toaster Project thusly:

"This faintly ridiculous quest to make a toaster from the 'ground up' serves as a vehicle through which questions about economics, helplessness, and life as a consumer can be investigated. The outcome will be a toaster that I imagine will bear a very imperfect likeness to the ones that we buy-a kind of half-baked, hand made pastiche of a consumer appliance. Commercial extraction and processing of the necessary materials happens on a scale that is difficult to resolve into the humble toaster. This contrast in scale is a bit absurd-massive industrial activity devoted to making objects which enable us, the consumer, to toast bread more efficiently. However, this ridiculousness dissipates somewhat when you consider that life pre-toasters required stoking the fire when a piece of toast was desired."So, would you rather be free from your dependency on multinational industry and commerce or eat bread instead of toast? I guess that's the question he's asking.Via We Make Money Not Art.

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