January 19, 2012
Even in a city defiantly proud of its quirks, the Poe Toaster stood out. Every year for more than half a century, in the early-morning hours of Jan. 19, a mysterious figure would quietly leave three roses and a half-emptied bottle of cognac on the grave of Edgar Allan Poe — a birthday tribute to a towering literary figure. But early Thursday morning, for the third year on a row, the Poe Toaster was a no-show, signaling an end to one of the city's most enduring — and most mysterious — traditions.
January 19, 2012
Is one of Baltimore's quirkiest traditions -- the Poe toaster -- dead? In the dark of night, on Jan. 19, the author's birthday, a mysterious, anonymous toaster had for years left cognac and roses at his grave outside Westminster Hall. Now that the stranger has failed to show up -- for the third straight year -- some are declaring an end to the tradition. Here are a few graphs from a story by The Baltimore Sun's Chris Kaltenbach writes: Early Thursday morning, a tired Jeff Jerome, curator of the city's Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum, "officially" pronounced the Poe-toasting tradition over.
June 30, 2011
This sounds like a terrible way to start your day. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of 300,000 classic chrome two-slice Hamilton Beach toasters after 15 reports of toasters that did not pop up as intended, igniting the contents. In three cases, there was minor damage to kitchen cabinets, but no injuries. How did the fires start? The heating elements continued to heat indefinitely, apparently. The toasters were sold in stores and online from February 2008 through June 2011 for about $30 to $40. According to the CPSC: "The Hamilton Beach recall involves model 22600 toasters with specific series codes.
January 26, 2011
I just finished reading Paul Lewis' tongue-in-cheek letter to the editor of The Sun ( "Maybe the Toaster finally figured out where Poe was born," Jan. 23), in which he comments on Edgar Allan Poe's mysterious toaster presumably resurfacing in Boston. I at first took umbrage at the tone of the letter, taking Mr. Lewis' comment "...when Poe died there during what was supposed to be a brief stopover... " as an insult to Baltimore, implying that Baltimore has little, if any, claim to Poe's legacy.
January 26, 2011
Yes, Virginia, there is a Poe Toaster. Now that smoke from the supposed failure of the Poe Toaster to materialize on Jan. 19 has cleared, it is time to consider the fundamental question: Did the Poe Toaster appear, or not? I was among the crowd gathered outside the graveyard at Baltimore's Westminster Hall, hoping for a glimpse of the Poe Toaster — the mysterious visitor who, since 1949, had crept unnoticed into the ancient graveyard on that date, leaving cognac and flowers on the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. The conditions could not have been in better harmony with the event, the wet streets reflecting the dull yellow glare of the streetlights and bathing the entire scene in a Victorian, gas-lit hue. The crowd, however, was solemn — subdued not by the rain or the cold but by the Toaster's unexplained failure to appear the previous year.
January 20, 2011
Regarding your story, "Mysterious Poe visitor doesn't show for 2nd year" (Jan. 19), the only mystery is that it has taken the old boy this long to figure out that he needs to toast Poe's birthdays in the city where the happy event took place, which would be, let me see, not Baltimore but, oh that's right, Boston! Rumor has it that the Toaster, having recently moved, has been spotted walking from the Frog Pond on Boston Common, which Poe loved to joke about, over to the recently dedicated Edgar Allan Poe Square, in search of 62 Charles Street South where the great American author and critic was born.