Before pop-up toasters there was this kind which dates to the 1950s. It still toasted two slices at once but only one side at a time. To help make up for that, some designs such as this one turned the bread over for you. It even had a toast rack on top to keep the toast warm.
Our little video shows how it worked. In common with many electrical appliances of the time, it required a bit of common sense to make sure it didn’t kill you. When plugged in, the wires stretched around the two mica sheets were “live”. There was no on/off switch. While the fact that they were red hot might deter you from touching them with your finger, you could still get an electric shock if you touched them with a knife.
Did you spot that the wires in the video weren’t red hot? That’s because we weren’t brave (foolhardy?) enough to plug it in. A modern toaster was used to prepare this toast !