All across America in the mid-1900s, savings banks gave out toasters as incentives for customers to open new accounts. Why toasters?

The practice began in Indianapolis as a cross-promotion between banks and the corporate headquarters of Wonder Bread. The marketing executives of the company, which underwrote half of the cost of the devices, reasoned that they’d make their money back from the sliced bread they’d sell to the new toaster owners.

“Bread” became slang for money in Indianapolis, and this nickname, as well as the toaster giveaway concept, quickly spread to the rest of the country.

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