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Modern Nostalgia: Flying Toaster Screensaver


There was a time when people used screensavers. For a while there you couldn’t walk in to a person’s house without seeing a computer monitor with bright green matrix coding dripping down, as if this person were keeping tabs on a dangerous mission he sent his girlfriend on, instead of just lazily hiding the decoupage blog he studies religiously. But before the streams of green coding were all the rage, there was a toaster with wings. And that sentence would blow a 18th century time traveler’s mind.

The now iconic flying toaster screensaver was introduced to the public in 1989 by the now defunct San Francisco based software company Berkley Systems. Berkley Systems found some success early in its life by developing modifications to the original Macintosh allowing for easier use for the blind or partially sighted.

And then they made toasters fly…which would sound amazing if the toasters weren’t a part of a computer program that basically acted like a set of drapes that could be pulled over your monitor to keep nosey neighbors out of your damn business. Want to check out some of this porn I’ve got going on over here? Uh-Oh! Toasters! And they’re flying! Toasters can’t do that! Instantly, you are psyched out and befuddled. By toasters. You f*cking simpleton.

Berkeley Systems closed its doors in 2000, but its founders, married couple Joan Blades and Wes Boyd, created the progressive political action website and group MoveOn.org. So while they may no longer be in the business of making toasters fly, in 2008 they helped pigs fly out of everyone’s butt by helping to get a black guy elected president.

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