Alexandra Lange
Architecture & design critic

It’s Toasted: Modernity and “Downton Abbey”

“Is it not enough that we are sheltering a dangerous revolutionary, Mrs. Hughes? Could you not have spared me that?” asks Carson, the butler, midway through last night’s episode of “Downton Abbey.” That is not the mention of the word prostitute at Downton, the Earl’s middle daughter being jilted at the altar, or even the revolutionary Branson appearing at dinner in his daytime suit. That is an electric toaster, a pincher model according to the Cyber Toaster Museum, with a nickel-plated toast rack on top. “I’ve given it to myself as a treat,” says Mrs. Hughes, the housekeeper, placidly. “If it’s any good, I’m going to suggest getting one for the upstairs breakfasts.”