Flying Toasters: The Iconic Screensaver of the 90s
If you were a Mac user in the 1990s, chances are you had a screensaver called After Dark, which featured a series of animated scenes that would play when your computer was idle. One of the most popular and memorable scenes was Flying Toasters, which showed winged toasters and slices of bread flying across a black background, accompanied by a catchy tune.
Flying Toasters was created by Jack Eastman and Patrick Beard for Berkeley Systems, the company behind After Dark. It was released in 1989 as part of After Dark 2.0, and quickly became a cultural phenomenon. It spawned merchandise, parodies, and even a lawsuit from the band Jefferson Airplane, who claimed that the screensaver infringed on their album cover for Bark, which also featured a flying toaster.
Today, Flying Toasters is considered a classic example of computer nostalgia, and a tribute to the creativity and humor of the early Mac era. You can still enjoy this screensaver on your modern devices, thanks to some faithful recreations by fans and developers. For example, you can download a free version for Windows or Mac from Screensavers Planet[^1^], or experience it in your browser using CSS from Bryan Braun[^2^]. You can also find the source code for a macOS version on GitHub[^3^].
So, if you want to relive some of the magic of the 90s, or just have some fun with your screensaver, why not give Flying Toasters a try You might find yourself humming along to the tune: \"Flying Toasters! They're so cool! Flying Toasters! They're so neat!\"
After Dark was not just a screensaver, but a software platform that allowed users to install and configure different modules, and even create their own using a programming language called FORTH. [^1^] Some of the modules were simple animations, such as Bouncing Ball, Starry Night, or Mowing Man, while others were interactive games, such as Lunatic Fringe, Rodger Dodger, or Fish World. [^1^] Users could also customize the settings of each module, such as the speed, color, sound, and number of objects.
After Dark became very popular among Mac and Windows users, and Berkeley Systems released several editions and expansions of the software over the years. Some of these were based on licensed properties, such as Star Trek, The Simpsons, Looney Tunes, Marvel Comics, and Disney. [^1^] Others were original creations, such as More After Dark, Before Dark, or Totally Twisted After Dark. [^1^] The software also attracted a large community of fans and developers who created hundreds of third-party modules for After Dark, some of which were distributed online or on CD-ROMs. [^1^]
In 1997, Berkeley Systems was acquired by Sierra On-Line, a division of CUC International. [^1^] Sierra continued to produce and sell After Dark products until 1999, when they discontinued the line due to declining sales and compatibility issues with newer operating systems. [^4^] However, After Dark still has a loyal fan base that keeps the legacy of the screensaver alive. Some fans have ported or recreated some of the modules for modern platforms, such as macOS, Windows 10, Linux, iOS, and Android. Others have created websites, blogs, podcasts, and videos dedicated to After Dark and its history. [^4^] 061ffe29dd