Sunday, July 13, 2008


A sandwich toaster is an electrical appliance used to toast sandwiches. It was invented by John O'Brien.

Here is his story:

In the 1970s, a man called John O'Brien sniffed the wind and saw the world was changing.
It wasn't just bad fashion and big hair. More women were entering the work force and families were looking for quicker ways to cook dinner. John had six kids, and when they went camping, they loved the jaffles they cooked over the fire so much he decided to import some toasted sandwich-makers from the only place in the world where they were being made: Belgium. He used Newcastle as a testing ground and they sold like hot sandwich-makers. John then tried to get 250,000 more, but the Belgians told him no. "Stuff 'em! I'll build my own," he thought, "but mine will be better." Toasted sandwiches back then were too big and too messy: a culinary treat that was booby-trapped. And when you bit into it, anything could happen. John invented the scissors action, which automatically cut and sealed your toasted sanger. The late John O'Brien patented the scissors action and turned the world of toasted sangers upside down. His company, Breville, have now sold over 23 million sandwich-makers around the world. John O'Brien, we salute you.

Back to facts about the sandwich maker:
Ordinary kitchen units generally consist of indented hot plates, clamped together around the sandwich. Usually two sandwiches can be toasted at a time. The plates are heated by electrical coils inside the appliance. Usually the exterior is somewhat separate from these to ensure the outside of the unit does not get too hot. The plates often clamp tightly around the edge of the sandwich, sealing in the filling. The use of a special sandwich toaster seals the edges of the sandwich and may place a diagonal line across it, preventing the filling from spilling out. Typical toasted sandwiches are a grilled cheese sandwich, tuna melt, or patty melt.

The appliance is known by various names around the world, including toasted sandwich maker or jaffle iron in Australia and South Africa, toastie maker in the United Kingdom and New Zealand {sometimes quixie iron or quicksie iron in New Zealand}. Breville, manufacturers of some of the earliest sandwich toasters, is sometimes eponymously.
Toasted sandwiches are also known by various names. They are frequently called toasties in Britain, brevilles or jaffles in Australia (also brevilles in South Africa). Jaffles are so named after the original jaffle iron (U.S. English: "pie iron"), a long-handled hinged iron implement for toasting sandwiches in a campfire. Sandwich toasters are less common in the United States where grilled cheese sandwiches are more popular.

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