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The Toaster Project Paperback – 20 Nov 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; First Edition edition (20 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568989970
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568989976
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.9 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 247,994 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Thwaites, author of The Toaster Project...


Praise for the Toaster Project:

Hidden in Thomas Thwaites' deceptively simple story is an epic tale that touches on electronics, metallurgy, sustainability, social history, consumerism, epistemology, and global post-industrial capitalism, among other things. It is also funny as hell. Dare I say it? The Toaster Project is the 21st century's first masterpiece of design writing.
--Michael Bierut, Partner, Pentagram Design

The Toaster Project is so cool it is beyond words. It is art and science, history and the future, all in one brilliant idea. Although a tiny project, it is mythic in scope. Once seen, never forgotten.
--Kevin Kelly, Wired magazine

Product Description

Review

As a DIY exercise, Thwaites details his 20-month mission to build an ordinary toaster, which, in the end, costs 250 times more than a store-bought version of the household appliance. --Big idea

"I poked through the furnace with a stick and pulled out a blobby black mass of something heavy.... Using a blowtorch, I heated it up until it turned bright red and hit it gently with a hammer. My iron shattered on impact along with my dream of making a toaster." --Wired.com, September 16, 2011

"I poked through the furnace with a stick and pulled out a blobby black mass of something heavy.... Using a blowtorch, I heated it up until it turned bright red and hit it gently with a hammer. My iron shattered on impact along with my dream of making a toaster." --Wired.com, September 16, 2011

One of the most exciting books to come across my desk in the last while.... A hilarious, wonderfully wrought account of how hard it is to really make anything from scratch, much less an electronic device. --Aaron Britt, Dwell.com

As befits the project, the book is hilarious. I never though reading about iron smelting and descents into mines would be so engrossing. --We Make Money Not Art

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Last Mango In Paris on 30 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback
this is my first ever Amazon review, and possibly my last;

I'm writing it because I cannot believe this book has got only two reviews, and one is negative.

The Toaster Project is simply genius. The book is a brilliantly self-deprecating analysis of the strange world we live in, and the hidden costs of a consumerist society. The author describes how gobsmacked he is that a toaster in Argos costs a few quid. How is this possible? How can a few pounds pay for the labour, the constituent parts, everything it cost to produce them, the travel incurred, the rent of the shop it's displayed in, the cost of the staff in the shop, and all of the other costs implicated in the price tag?

Because this makes no sense to him, he goes out to build a toaster himself - from scratch; down to mining for all the raw materials!

What he produces looks abysmal. And it costs him £8000 and a year of hard labour, or thereabouts - perhaps reflecting on the true cost of our consumer goods. The money shot is at the end of the book, where he smuggles his bastardised toaster into Argos with an £8000 price tag on it, and displays it next to a proper toaster.

I am hereby aware that this review is pants. I hope other people who have read it can do it justice. It really is one my favourite books - I've bought at least ten copies for friends.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The author tries to make a toaster (price £6.95 retail) by starting with the raw materials and takes us through an entertaining journey on how the division of labour brings many benefits by describing his complete failure in trying to go solo (cost £100s manufacture)

Anyone with any level of interest in economics, technology and logistics will gain much from this.

The economist Adam Smith got there first in 1776 with the description of how a pin factory increases productivity in Wealth of Nations but the text could seem a bit dry and historic.

This book is a well written, vivid and witty narrative of the counter-factual "lest we forget" the many benefits of industrialisation and brings to life reference books such as How Things Work Encyclopedia (First Reference)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A look at how complicated the simple things we take for granted are. Technically interesting, and a great political view of the true cost of cut price gadgets and who really pays the price.
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