The history of Dualit – discover the journey behind the UK’s most famous toaster brand

More than 70 years in the making, this family firm remains true to its inventive roots
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  • Meet Alex Gort-Barten, grandson of Dualit’s founder Max, and you get a taste of the enthusiasm and attention to detail that drives the company’s success.

    He proudly shows off his grandfather’s early designs – the first Dualit toaster, and a cocktail shaker with an ‘S’ indentation in the lid that helped the ingredients to mix better.

    He then explains how, with the help of a 3D printer, he and dad Leslie conjure up and perfect their new products, Blue Peter style. Oh, and they’ve even incorporated that ‘S’ into the design of their new hand blender.

    Many of the company’s products are made in China these days, but its ‘Classic’ toasters are still built and tested by hand at its Crawley HQ, where there’s also a dedicated repair shop. Incidentally, the toasters are painted by a chap called Brian – you’ll find his fingerprints behind the casing of each one.

    The history of Dualit

    1945

    Max Gort-Barten buys a factory in Camberwell, southeast London to manufacture his inventions. He names the company after his Dual-Light electric fire

    1946

    Max patents his first successful product, a flip-sided toaster.

    1952

    History-of-Dualit-1952-Six-slice-toaster

    Max invents the first commercial-use toaster with a built-in timer.

    1954

    History-of-Dualit-1954-factory

    Image credit: Dualit

    Max moves to larger premises on London’s Old Kent Road.

    1960s

    1968-QE2-history-of-dualit

    Image credit: Dualit

    As the range of toasters grows, Max adds other products, such as a waffle iron. in 1968, Dualit toasters are introduced to the galley of the QE2.

    Early 1970s

    Dualit toasters go on sale at John Lewis, Fortnum & Mason and Harrods

    1974

    Max steps down as managing director and his son Leslie joins the business

    1989

    Max is awarded a CBE for services to British manufacturing

    1999

    Max and Leslie use space shuttle technology to develop the ProHeat replaceable toaster element

    2003

    History-of-Dualit-2003-LITE-TOASTER

    Max Gort-Barten dies. Dualit launches a more affordable range of Lite toasters, followed by other food-prep appliances

    2008

    History-of-Dualit-coffee-machine-2008

    The Espressivo bar-pump coffee machine joins the range. Coffee machines have been a mainstay of the Dualit collection ever since, and the company now manufactures its own compostable coffee pods for convenience.

    2014

    History-of-Dualit-Heritage-toasters

    Dualit collaborates with The Little Greene Paint Company to launch a Heritage range of toasters. The iconic classic toasters now come in eight historic, yet on-trend, paint colours.

    Handmade from more than 140 replaceable parts, NewGen toasters are fully repairable and the optional sandwich cage delivers the tastiest toasties ever.

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