Sunbeam Models & Years
MODEL NUMBERS AND MANUFACTURING YEARS
Details of the T-20, T-20-A, and T-20 B series:
- Each of these models feature an engraved image, inspired by the Trylon and Perisphere, the Theme Center of the 1939 World’s Fair, on the front and back of the “clam shell” cover
- Internal metal parts, including the bread carriage, are CAD plated
- Lightness/Darkness knob is located under the Bakelite handle
- Cloth covered asbestos power cord – (not polarized or grounded)
- 1,275 watts of power
- Date stamping occurred for only a short while; Sunbeam stamped a manufacturing date on the inside of the earlier toasters but discontinued this practice with the T-35
T-20 (1949-1950): The original model that started the entire series. The thermostat of the T-20 was used only during these years.
T-20-A (1950-1952): The exact same toaster as the T-20, save for the thermostat, which was changed to the style used from this model to the T-40.
T-20-B (1952-1957): The Lincoln Continental of the entire series! This toaster features an additional spring to help the bread raise faster when toasting is completed.
T-20-C (1957-1958): The “C” is the last model to feature the engraved image of the Trylon and Perisphere on the front and back of the “clam shell” cover. All internal metal parts, including the bread carriage, were changed to galvanized metal. The lightness/darkness knob remains under the Bakelite handle. The “C” is the first to feature a rubber cord, and it has 1,275 watts of power.
T-35 (1958-1967 or later): This model is a favorite of many owners. It features a gold medallion with the Sunbeam script and the words “Radiant Control” on the front. Internally, the toaster is exactly the same as the T-20-C. The lightness/darkness knob remains under the Bakelite handle. It also features a rubber cord and it has 1,275 watts of power.
T-40 (1962): This model is the first to feature a slide control on the front of the toaster that controls the lightness/darkness; it replaces the knob under the Bakelite handle. It features a large badge that reads Sunbeam “Vista” Radiant Control on the front of the “clam shell” cover. Internally, the mechanics are exactly the same as the T-35, including the rubber cord and 1,275 watts of power
- Special Note on the T-40 & T-35: From 1962 to approximately 1967 or later, both of these toasters were offered for sale in department stores. I have a brand-new T-40 from an estate sale that has never been used that was given as a wedding gift in the spring of 1964.
T-40-1 (1962 or 1963?): This toaster may have been offered for sale here in the United States, but most likely to our friends in Canada at the same time. It is identically the same toaster as the T-40 with the exception of the wording on the large badge on the front. The T-40-1 reads “Sunbeam Radiant Control” (the word Vista was eliminated) and features a large “S” in a square box. Its mechanics are exactly the same as the T-40, including the rubber cord and 1,275 watts of power.
VT-40 (1965?): Identically the same as the T-40. I see no difference in the models except the color of the “hot” wire going from the power port to the thermostat is blue and the slide control handle. The mechanics are exactly the same as the T-40, including the rubber cord and 1,275 watts of power.
T-35-1 (1966?): This toaster is the first to feature a double pole thermostat. The government mandated Sunbeam to not only “break” the “hot” wire of the toaster, but also the “neutral” wire. Since none of the toasters from 1949 to 1997 were ever polarized, the plug could be inserted in the wall outlet either way. This new thermostat gave protection to the consumer. Cosmetically, the toaster looks identically the same as the original T-35. Another change was the wattage of the toaster: the T-35-1 was increased to 1,375 watts, which makes it toast faster.
VT-40-1 – (1966 to 1975?): This toaster features the double pole thermostat like the T-35-1. This is an assumption on my part; the T-35-1 was discontinued at some point in the late 1960’s and the T-40-1 and VT-40 model numbers were rebranded as the VT-40-1 (which, I believe, stands for Vista Toaster-40-1).The large badge again featured the words Sunbeam Vista Radiant Control (like the original T-40). It also was increased to 1,375 watts of power.
- Special Note on the T-35-1 and the VT-40-1: I am assuming that both of these models were sold at the same time. Each toaster looked identical to original T-35 and T-40. The only difference is the double pole thermostat. It is doubtful that Sunbeam would have marketed that change to the toasters. Based on my work on these toasters, I am doing my best to provide accurate dates for reference.
AT-W, AT-35-A, 20-3-AG, 20300 – 1976 to 1997: Mechanically, other than using an updated thermostat and an extra insulation cover over the wiring (government mandated), the toasters are pretty much the same from 1976 until they were discontinued in 1997. They all have 1,375 watts of power.
When purchased new, the model number on the boxes was shown as SERVICE AT-W. Most of the toasters are stamped with AT-W on the crumb tray as the model number.
In the 1980’s and later, the model number on the toaster inside the box could be stamped with a different model number, such as 20-3-AG or AT-35-A, etc., but the box still would list SERVICE AT-W as the model number. The only difference in any of these variations of model numbers from 1976 to 1997 is the lightness/darkness control decal under the sliding handle.
If anyone would like to send me any corrections or updates to this information, please do so by emailing me under the contact section. I would very much like to have this information as accurate as possible.