Yesterday morning I was in the kitchen mixing up a batch of scones for the girls' breakfast when I heard, "Bzzzt! Bzzzzzt! BZZZZZTTTT!" Looking down, I noted bright golden light flashing through the oven window and then several showers of absolutely gorgeous sparks cascading down the inside of the glass. I have to confess, I'd never heard an oven make that noise before, but it didn't sound like a particularly happy oven-noise, so I turned it off.
After 15 minutes or so, I opened the door a bit and peeked in. The top element was glowing bright red around one spot, and while I watched, it threw some more sparks off. I shut the door again. Obviously the poor thing was having some sort of breakdown and needed some privacy. It seemed unkind to intrude.
Three hours later I gingerly cracked open the door again. No sparks this time, and the glowing red spot had burned three quarters of the way around the curving length of the element. I wasn't surprised to find this morning that eventually the element burned itself in two before giving up the ghost.
The appliance repair and supply shop we use had to call their supplier to see if the replacement element could even be ordered. The stove is that old. It also looks like I'll have to do some wiring to get this thing fixed, since the element is soldered onto the wires instead of simply plugged into something. Maybe there'll be more sparks! Ooooh, pretty!