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Club Dualit

Company Insight:

A Classic Tale of a British Icon

Gracing kitchen worktops since the 1950s, the iconic Dualit Classic Toaster has maintained its industrial looks and repairable features to continue to be the toaster we know and love today.

With quality being of the utmost importance in every facet of the toaster's creation, Dualit ensures each model is thoroughly checked by a team of long-standing, experienced staff to provide customers with a well-engineered, reliable appliance.

In 1952, Dualit designed and engineered a commercial six-slice toaster with a built-in mechanical timer, which was the first of its kind and bears a striking resemblance to today's model. The Dualit Classic toaster became a ubiquitous part of commercial kitchens all over the UK, even making it on-board the QE2 in 1968. Now lovingly used in homes, restaurants, cafes, hotels and even on a nuclear submarine as well as first class aircraft cabins, Dualit Classic Toasters have a dedicated following and have been known to be passed down through generations with a few spare parts to keep them ticking!

Each Classic Toaster is individually hand-built from start to finish in Dualit's factory in Crawley, West Sussex and are now sold in 55 countries. The manufacturing process has hardly changed since the 1950s, with some machinery still in operation after decades of use. The hand assembly has evolved thanks to developments in machinery and technology, to make it easier for the assemblers; where parts such as the silicon wires around the toaster elements were traditionally hand-wound, they are now received pre-made ready to be inserted.

Consistent and thorough quality monitoring happens each day in the factory; not only are the parts checked throughout the assembly process, but the machinery is also checked both in the morning and the afternoon - four times a day - to test the strength, the welding and the quality of the outputs.

Dualit is proud to have a dedicated and passionate workforce, some of whom have been with the company for more than 30 years and often includes more than one member of the same family and even spans the generations.

Foreman Kevin Wilmot has been working for Dualit for over three decades, beginning his career on the toaster assembly line; "When I joined Dualit there was only five or six assemblers and we would make between 60 to 70 four and six slot toasters a week each. It took longer to make the toasters then, as every part we made ourselves. From Thursday afternoon through Friday we would assemble the toasters parts; back then we used to wind the wires around the elements by hand, for instance. Once a year there would be a huge delivery of all the parts we needed to make the toasters. We would all stand in a line and pass the boxes from the lorry into the factory for storing."

Family values have always been at the forefront of the Dualit business, with the late Max Gort-Barten and his son, Leslie Gort-Barten firmly involved in the day-to-day operations. Kevin says, "Leslie used to check the toasters when they were finished and Max used to pack them."

Robert Lunn joined Dualit in 1988, having been in his previous job for just one day when he received a call from Leslie asking him to join the assembly team. "There were around 20 of us working in assembly at the time, and Dualit were getting large orders for toasters from all over the world. At the busiest times we could make 3,000 toasters a week".

Most Classic Toasters are hand sprayed by Brian Record, who has worked for the company for over 20 years and if you were to take the end casting off a Classic Toaster, you would likely see Brian's handprints on the inside!

With 70 years' experience manufacturing thoughtfully designed, well-engineered products, Dualit Classic Toasters lead the way in innovation. Made from 141 components for the two slice and 168 for the four slice, they feature patented ProHeat® Elements, which benefit from a protective natural mineral layer (Mica) that covers the filaments making them virtually unbreakable and easy to keep clean. The extra 'winds per square cm' on the ProHeat® Elements ensure that the bread is toasted more evenly. Designed to be tough enough to cope with commercial kitchens, Dualit Classic Toasters contain fully repairable or replaceable parts (including the ProHeat® Elements) for great longevity and environmental responsibility.

Added benefits include a manual ejector for complete control, concealed crumb tray for easy cleaning, high lift mechanism to remove smaller items and a mechanical timer to control the browning process.

The extra-wide 28mm slots are suitable for use with Dualit's Sandwich Cages and thanks to an efficient slot selector, it is possible to toast only what is needed, helping to save energy and reduce wasting food. A patented adjustable rear foot also compensates for uneven surfaces. The introduction this year of its Classic Colour palettes sees Dualit's eye for design and trends come to the fore, as it advises on shades and tones for all kinds of kitchens thanks to the rainbow of colours available.