Australian Variants of the
Sunbeam Radiant Control Toastermatic Toaster.    or


This website is not intended as an alternative to the excellent Automatic Beyond Belief website, but rather as a complementary source of information on the Australian variants of the brilliant American Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster. Like life in general, Toastermatic models are not clear cut. Between model changes some features of the new model were sometimes adopted early and sometimes after the new model had been introduced.

Sunbeam Australia's advertising for the AT-35(a) described the means by which the shade of the toast was controlled as a "Magic Eye". For the AT-35(b) the "Radiant Control" description was used with this being replaced by "built in Exposure Meter" for the AT-40. Advertising for the TA J model mentioned a "Special Sensor" and that "the exclusive radiant control acts as a magic eye".

For all Australian models the toaster was described as a "Toastermatic" and the superb phrase "Automatic Beyond Belief" was not used.

Boxes of the American T-35 & Australian AT-354 models illustrate the advertising differences.
Click images to enlarge.


In 1956 at least one retailer (in Penrith New South Wales) was selling a 240 volt version of the art deco1 T-20 toaster (most likely the T-20B). This toaster, possibly a British import, appears to be the first Toastermatic sold in Australia, albeit not referred to as a Toastermatic.

Unofficial release using the terms "Radiant Control" & "Automatic Beyond Belief".
Nepean Times, 5 April 1956.

The Art Deco1 T-20 sold by at least one Australian retailer.
Photo is of American T-20 Version.

American T-20B Elliptical End Elements3 around insulated core.
Build date - November 22 1950

Australian Cylindrical End Elements3 without insulated core.

(1960 - mid 1962)

Sunbeam Australia's first release of the Radiant Control Toastermatic appears to be simply a 240 volt version of the American T-35 toaster. Designated the AT-352, it appears identical to the American T-35 except for the use of the Australian polarised and earthed three pin plug & lead carrying 240 volts to the double pole switch. The four toasting elements remained at a total of 1,275 watts. The end heating elements were cylindrical, rather than elliptical in shape3. Unlike the American T-35, the AT-35's handles and Sunbeam badge on the front had the word Toastermatic instead of Radiant Control on them.

In April 1960, Young's in Canberra advertised the First Release of the Sunbeam Toastermatic with the exclusive Magic Eye. The advertisement suggested that you GIVE MUM A "Toastermatic ON MAY 8" (Mother's Day). The assumption presumably was that Australian Mums just love making toast. The toaster sold for £14.10.0.

AT-35(a) with chrome end panels and original shade control knob.
Australian Women's Weekly, November 1961.
Click image to view whole advertisement.

Click image to download.

1960 Advertisement
Australian Women's Weekly, 19 October 1960

A May 1962 AT-35(a) model with the shade control used in the later AT-35(b) model.
Surprisingly there is no badge on this and at least two other known examples.

Photo courtesy of the owner, Dudley Bennett.

(mid 1962 - mid 1965)

In mid 1962 Sunbeam Australia released their second version of the AT-352 toaster. This toaster, the one that I grew up with, had black baked enamel end panels and a larger shade control knob with numbered gradations separate to the rotating shade control knob. The four elements were increased and now totalled 1,600 watts for the AT-35(b). This model inaccurately advertised as giving the user "15 settings for toast just the way you like it!" There were in fact many more than 15 settings.

AT-35(b) with black end panels and new shade control knob.

Click image to download. Click image to download.
User Instructions for AT-35(b)
October 1961.
Also relevant to T-20 & AT-35(a) models.
Click image to download.
AT-35(b) Advertisement
Women's Weekly, 24 July 1963
Click image to enlarge.

(mid 1965 - 1973)

In mid 1965 Sunbeam Australia introduced the AT-40. Like the American VT-40, the Australian variant had the shade control on the front of the toaster with a badge above it. Like the American VT-40, below the vertically mounted badge were barely visible shade control gradations of Lighter, Medium and Darker. The price of the AT-40 increased slightly from £14.10.00 to $28.95 with the introduction of decimal currency on the 14th of February 1966.

Although most of this model was produced with black end panels, towards the end of the model run some were also produced with harvest gold and sunset red end panels.

AT-40 (made in June 1965) with black end panels and front mounted shade control.
Note the surface below the shade control knob crying out for a label.

AT-40 nameplate with Lighter Medium Darker labels only visible if toaster is at eye level.
If only there was a horizontal surface handy for an easier to read label.

Pages 1 & 4.
Pages 2 & 3

AT-40 Instructions5

Download & Print Double Sided.

Click image to enlarge.

AT-40 Advertisement
Women's Weekly, March 1966

(circa 1973)

There are a few model transition toasters with AT-40 stamped on the base with coloured end panels and other toasters stamped TA J with the large AT-40 badge on their
front. Possibly this was simply a matter of introducing the coloured end panels as they became available and using the AT-40 badged bodies until stocks were exhausted.

AT-40 Toaster with Harvest Gold End Panels.
photos courtesy of Anastasia Debono.

TA J Toaster with AT-40 Badge and TA J Shade Control Label.

(1973 - at least 1982)

In addition to black end panels, the TA J model introduced Harvest Gold end panels in 1973 and Sunset Red in 1974. The large badge from the AT-40 was briefly retained but removed in early 1974. Both badged and non-badged versions finally had shade control gradations placed on the quite visible panel below the shade control knob. A new base incorporated redesigned cleaner looking handles. The service personel no doubt appreciated the easier to reassemble electrical connections.

Sunset Red end panels
Australian Women's Weekly, 8 Dec 1976
Harvest Gold end panels
Black End PanelsEarly (top) & later Shade Control Labels

AT-40 handle & cleaner looking Australian TA J handle on the right.


To further complicte the model numbering is the model TA41 Toastermatic purchased by John Williams' parents in Queensland for $69.50 in 1984. As the instructions appear to be dated 83, I have dated this model as 1983/4. The TA41 had the TAJ's coloured end panels but with, what appears to be, thinner handels than the TAJ.

TA41 Box Front
Click image to enlarge
photo courtesy of John Williams
TA41 Box Side
AD01 Black refers to the black handles chosen by this purchaser
Click image to enlarge
photo courtesy of John Williams

User Instructions for TA41 model.
Courtesy of John Williams.

(most likely the 1980s)

A model along the lines of the TA J but with more muted coloured end panels and thinner handles. In addition to black, coloured end panels include the light pastel yellow version shown below and a particularly interesting two tone version with cream end panels and brown handles and shade control base. Interestingly the TA-AD crumb tray has an * and sometimes a three digit number stamped on it. Whether the * indicates a limited edition &/or the number refers to the end panels colour is not known. Black end panel toasters only have the *. The crumb tray is double layered with phillips head screws used on the base and electrical connections, but not on the electrical connections cover.

TA-AD model with light yellow end panels.

What the * and 356 indicates is unknown. Perhaps a limited edition &/or colour.

TA-AD model with cream end panels & brown handles & Shade Control Base.
Stamped on the crumb tray is an * and the number 516.
Photo courtesy of the owner, Dudley Bennett.

Click image to download.
User Instructions for TA-AD model.
(Also applies to the TA J model.)
Click image to download.

(possibly late 1980s - 1990s)

The TA-C "touch n* toast" model is quite a rare model and appears, from its shade adjuster, to follow on from the TA-AD model. The TA-C differs from the AT-40, TA J and TA-AD models in that its shade adjuster is more directly connected to the internal adjusting screw, than as is the front sliding shade adjuster. Being not only more direct that the front slider adjusters, but also more visible that the AT-35 models, makes this the best of the three types of shade adjusters. Additionally it has a button above the badge which causes the bread to lower therby avoiding the occasional need to drop the bread a second time. Interestingly the strike through of AT-40 on the crumb tray indicates the use of earlier components.

TA-C model with shade adjuster on end with lowering button above badge.
photo - David Harvey

TA-C Model Number on Crumb Tray.
photo - David Harvey

(possibly circa 2000)

The TA-8400 can handle two, four or large slices of bread. It has larger 2,000 watt elements and is "Made in China to Sunbeam's specification".

TA-8400 model with shade adjuster on end with lowering button above badge.
photo by the proud owner - Neil Tribe

TA-8400 has cancel, reheat and frozen buttons in addition to the shade control knob.
photo by the proud owner - Neil Tribe

for AT-40 & VT-40 Models

My Modified AT-40.

The numbered Shade Control label provides a better reference point on the AT-40 & VT-40
models when adjusting between Raisin Bread and breads with less sugar.
e.g. Raisin Bread = 8 & Normal Bread = 11.
Simply print the whole image 10.25 cms wide & cut with scissors.
The 0-18 range mimics the range of the AT-35(b) model.

Adjusting for Bread Type.
From the AT-35(b) User Instructions.

There are two easy to make adjustments for these toasters.

1a - Toast won't lower or won't lower easily.

The toast should descend upon being placed in the right hand toasting slot. Toast should not have to be dropped either gently or violently.

Unplug toaster from power point, turn sideways or upside down on a towel to avoid scratching the chrome surface. Opening the crumb tray exposes the adjusting screw. Late model American toasters had a hole in the crumb tray and the self explanatory sticker below. Presumably not having to manually open the crumb tray made the process more "Automatic Beyond Belief".

Sticker from American 20-3 AG model.

Adjusting Screw.

Click image to download.

Adjustment Notice from American 20-30 model.
Click image to download.

2a - Not enough range adjustment in the Shade Adjusting Knob or Slider.

If the shade adjusting knob or slider cannot be adjusted far enough either way to prevent the toast from being too light or too dark, this can be adjusted by doing the following:-

      i - T-20 and AT-35 models with Knob under Right End Handle.

Turn the knob as far as possible in the direction that you are trying to adjust the shade. e.g. If the toast is too dark then turn the knob fully to the lighter end of the scale (counter clockwise). Pull the knob off and use a small flat screwdriver to turn the screw half a turn in the same direction. Then replace the knob with the pointer vertical. Repeat if necessary until mid point produces your ideal shade of toast.

      ii- AT-40, TA J and TA-AD models with Slider on front of Toaster.

Insert small flat blade screwdriver in adjusting hole under right handle. If the slider cannot make the toast light enough, turn the adjusting screw counter clockwise half a turn and test by cooking a piece of toast. Repeat if necessary until mid point of slider produces your ideal shade of toast.

Shade adjusting screw under right handle.

2b - Bread lowers and toaster switches off and bread then rises.

This happened to me after I removed the toaster's chrome shell, end panels and base to clean it. Presumably I bumped something while cleaning. In this case the shade control is set way too light. To rectify this turn the shade adjusting screw clockwise.

Repairing Bi-Metalic Switch with rusted top rivet.

Not so much a repair but more of a modification. This solution rectifies the situation where adjusting the toaster only results in two extreme outcomes. The toaster either turns on and stays on or will not turn on at all.

This repair/modification is explained at Sunbeam radiant control toaster switch repair (T-35-1/all models) by Benivator2.

Miscellaneous Repairs.

Various repairs discussed in the free Service Manual for T-20, T-20A & T-20B.

For normal cleaning of the chrome surface simply use a damp cloth after unpluging the toaster.

To clean the chrome surface after years of wear and tear use Super Fine Grade 0000 Steel Wool. As courser grades of steel wool can scratch the chrome, they should not be used. Super Fine Grade 0000 Steel Wool can be purchased in the paint department at Bunnings or most other Hardware Stores and Paint Shops for under $10.

Note: Unplug toaster before cleaning as Steel Wool conducts electricity.

Patent details for Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster.

T-40 update for T-20 Service Manual. Adjustments section of page 9.

User Instructions for AT-35(b) October 1961. (Also applies to T-20 & AT-35(a) models by substituting knob midpoint for no. 9.)

User Instructions for AT-40 pages 1 & 4 Print back to back.
User Instructions for AT-40 pages 2 & 3

User Instructions for TA41 model.

User Instructions for TA-AD model. (Also applies to TA J model.)

Shade Control Label, Lighter - Darker Can be applied to the AT-40 toaster. (print 10.25 cms wide & cut with scissors)

Shade Control Label, 1 - 18 Can be applied to the AT-40 & VT-40 toaster. (print 10.25 cms wide & cut with scissors)


Automatic Beyond Belief website

Service Manual for T-20, T-20A & T-20B Free from

Service Manual for Sunbeam Toasters Purchase manuals for a range of Sunbeam toasters including the T-20 versions & the T-40 toaster.

The Antique Toaster that's Better than Yours video by Technology Connections

Sunbeam Radiant Control Toaster--Repair and Modernization video by Technology Connextras

Tim's Toasters--Restorations American Restoration Website

1 The Sunbeam model T-20 range features a design said to be inspired by the Trylon and Perisphere symbols of the 1939 World's Fair in New York.
2 As both versions of the AT-35 toaster were stamped AT-35, (a) and (b) have been used to differentiate between the two versions.
3 The patent details explain the advantages of elliptical elements over circular elements.
4 Use of the term Magic Eye suggests that the AT-35 box could have been for the AT-35(a) version.
5 Although the instructions are labeled AT-40 and are clearly for the AT-40 toaster, the cover shows an image of an American toaster with an off switch and page 4 is dated May 1975, by which date the AT-40 had been replaced by the TA J model.

Contact - Information on Australian variants of the Sunbeam Radiant Control Toastermatic Toaster is most welcome. To contact me Click Here.

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