I own one of those toasters! Thanx for the info on the adjustment, although I don't need it yet. I mean, after all, I've only had it for twenty years. Oh, did I mention that I inherited it from my grandmother after she died. Who knows how long she owned it before me? And it still drops the bread at the touch of a button, toasts perfectly everytime, and slowly raises the toast when done. The darkness settings still work perfectly! Some company should reverse engineer this thing and start selling them again. I'd be glad to be a spokesman!
Amclaussen, that's an impressive list of repairs you've done using online instructions. Thanks especially for the tip about the Spanish site with factory repair manuals for cars. I know what you mean about the sense of accomplishment when figuring out how to fix something, or even just finding a workaround, instead of tossing it.
Hey, Amclaussen, I used to own one of those Rainbow vacuums. It was a great contraption. In the middle of a rainy night a friend's roof started leaking. He called and I ran over with the Rainbow and sucked up the water before it could do any real damage. One cool vacuum cleaner.
It happened to me, but with another old appliance: an extraordinarily well built "Rainbow" vacuum cleaner, made around 1960, and that continues to work today almost as new. In fact, I was persuaded to assist to one of those awful product "demonstrations" they play in order to sell this brand (normally NOT available in stores).
Well, I made the effort to carry my old 1960 vintage Rainbow vacuum to the demo, in order to compare it to the latest one, which I believe is the fifth version of the one left to me by my late parents.
I took a 5 ft long plexiglass tube with me, and a jumbo size garbage bag, and was able to properly compare both suction strenght (by lifting a water column height) and airflow (by timing the bag filling)... Guess what: the old one was able to pull the same vacuum level, and a little HIGHER airflow than the latest model, albeit at an slightly higher noise level. Mine has required at least three bearing changes, several internal cleanings, and two sets of electrical motor brushes, a new power cord and a new hose, but otherwise, it is almost the same that left the factory more than 50 years ago.
The Rainbow was made by "Rexair" and used the then quite novel way of "washing the air" with water instead of filtering it with a paper or cloth bag. It came with a full complement of accesories to perform many tasks other than vacuuming, like a sprayer that was capable of achieving an acceptable paint job (in fact, it was one of the earliest "HVLP" spray paint setup concepts) with a foam nozzle to clean furniture or car ; a hair drier based on a kind of skullcap, all kind of adaptors to inflate air matresses, beach balls and other toys.
The Vacuum was made of metal and durable plastics, and it is so durable that there are several stores that still service it in Mexico City today, and you can find most parts and components to repair and restore it to "as new" condition. It is so rugged and strong that I use it occasionally to drive a home made centrifugal dust collector for my home shop, to suck sawdust and debris when I use my router, saw or sanders. The addition of a recent model "HEPA" filter as a second stage allows me to avoid dust hazards and breath clean air. Last time it stopped working (due to worn motor brushes), me and my wife went shopping for a new vacuum, but found none as capable as the old one, so I took it to one repair shop that changed the brushes and cleaned it. In this case, older was definitely better. Amclaussen.
Well said Ann, internet has been extraordinarily helpful and mostly a benefit for everyone. I specially appreciate some notable tutorials that truly good people take the time and effort to publish to help comlete extrangers, without an economic benefit! Thanks to those tutorials and "how to fix..." articles, I have been able to perform a lot of repairs. Just to cite a few:
-A Dell LapTop with a badly designed charge jack, that usually overheats until it burns the motherboard. The fix is inexpensive but requires a COMPLETE disassembly of the entire LapTop, but thanks to the excellent photos of the tutorial, almost anybody can do it!
-An old Trinitron TV with a known and otherwise expensive repair.
-A CD Recorder-Player with a badly designed tray mechanism (Harman-Kardon).
-A badly designed and built USB and headphone jacks for an MP3 player repair (Creative Zen Micro).
-A way to fix a balky shutter on my oldie-but-goodie Canon A1 35 mm film camera (28 years old and still working!).
-A fix for a terrible "UTOC" error that had made my Sharp Minidisc recorder unusable.
-A great method for Flushing completely the ATF from an Automatic Transmission.
-A GRRREAT list of Diagnostic Trouble codes, that can be read in the Dash without any need for an expensive Scanner (for Chrysler vehicles).
-A Great site in Spain, that publishes a lot of complete Factory Manuals for many automobiles, that otherwise would be un-obtainable by common people, and free!
-a tutorial on how to use a PC power supply to provide 12 VDC at many amperes, to feed a battery charger, instead of having to buy an expensive DC power supply.
-Many truly good sites where a lot of repairs and fixes can be obtained, that show not only how to fix info, but some analysis on how the manufacturer caused the failure by poor design, poor chioce of materials, planned obsolescense or whatever!
-The oportunity to share comments with fellow engineers at places like this "Made by Monkeys", that allows us to enjoy viewpoints and experiences of other engineers in a friendly environment.
And many others too numerous to mention.
Good luck with your searches and your repairs. When I find a way to overcome a defective or badly made design, I feel a kind of vindicative satisfaction, realizing I have saved a lot of money by repairing instead of buying a new item from them. Cheers! Amclaussen.
I had the same experience, DGTom. I grew up with one of these toasters, and I still remember the even toasting. It's something I haven't seen in my adult life. It was actually reassuring to learn there was an adjustment on the bottom that would bring it back to health after it experienced inevitable wear.
I spent a good deal of my life at Sunbeam, testing new products. I have always seen the Radiant Control toaster as one of the best small appliances produced during that time when companies were able to put much more quality into their products.
Not only would the toaster automatically lower the toast, then raise it when done, but the toast was always done to the same degree of doneness no matter if it was the first slice or the fifth, nor whether it was the thinnest slice or a bagel half, nor whether it started out at room temperature or frozen. To the best of my knowledge, this performance has not been equaled since the line was discontinued.
I tell anyone who is in the market for a toaster to find a used Radiant Control toaster on the web (eBay is my favorite source.) My personal feeling is that this would be their best choice for a foolproof, high quality machine that will last their lifetime. (No, I wasn't in Sales, I just liked that device.)
Good points, WA4DOU. You're correct about appliances costing a larger portion of discretionary spending 50 years ago. Repair was the rule with all appliances. When I was a kid, Detroit Edison would repair small appliances for free. They would also give you free light bulbs if you brought in your dead ones.
In all fairness, decades ago folks weren't as prosperous as today. Things had to be made to last as long as possible in order to get real long term value out of every expenditure. I'll bet an appliance then constituted a larger share of a worker's earnings than many of them today. I remember a toaster my parents had that must have lasted 40 years or more. It also weighed a bit more than modern toasters. In the late '50's, an author named Vance Packard wrote several very interesting books called, "The Waste Makers", "The Decision Makers", etc. He revealed that planned obsolescence was becoming the new normal.
I concur with most of the comments about repairable appliances, but not all was so good back in the day. Do you remember the period of time when appliances came with "Safety Cords"? They averaged about a foot long and worked just dandy if the toaster, waffle iron, mixer or whatever was used exclusively on a countertop, but at they table we had to put the toaster on the floor because the cord was not long enough to reach the wall receptical from table height.
Then again if you went inside a heat making appliance to repair you probably encountered asbestos which would require a hazmat team today. Also many old electric cords were insulated with a product that age hardened and cracked leaving exposed copper wire. Do not misunderstand me, I prefer many old appiances and enjoy fixing what I can, but every era produced its share of junk, although an old Emerson Electric fan lasts forever once that brittle wire was replaced.
Fifty-six-year-old Pasquale Russo has been doing metalwork for more than 30 years in a tiny southern Italy village. Many craftsmen like him brought with them fabrication skills when they came from the Old World to America.
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