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70 Things You Might Not Know About Dualit

How much do you know about Dualit?

There is probably a few things you know, such as we are a family run business and we know quite a lot about toast, but probably more that you don't!

Our team have put our heads together and looked back over the last 70 years to come up with 70 facts about our company. We have covered everything from how many toasters we make in a week to movies our products have appeared in. Read more about our 70th Anniversary year. Have fun reading; we think some of these may be surprising!

  1. Max Gort-Barten, the founder of Dualit was born in Germany in 1914
  2. Max found himself in England as WWII broke out. After five years in the British army, he bought an army power press and factory in Camberwell with the intention of manufacturing one of his many inventions for the commercial market
  3. Dualit was founded on the 16 October 1945 under the name "Dualit Works"
  4. Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Goldie Hawn, Henry Winkler, Bob Marley, Tom Selleck, Bette Midler, Van Morrison and Helen Mirren were all born in the year that Dualit was founded, 1945
  5. Max's father was also an inventor and the family produced acetate wallets in a factory behind their house
  6. After WWII Max bought original Bliss 2 ton power presses as army surplus. Made in 1938, some are still in use in the factory today
  7. The Dualit name is derived from one of the early ideas of the company; the Dual-Lite electric fire, so named as it could deflect heat to two parts of a room
  8. Early company designs included a stainless steel fire screen, an onion top and tail machine, and a patented cocktail shaker and mixer for custards and puddings
  9. The Dualit Shake-Mixer was designed to mix hot or cold liquids with dry ingredients like gravy powder, dried egg, dried milk and blancmange powder. It promised to mix the ingredients in just four shakes!
  10. Dualit's first successful product was a patented flip sided toaster in 1946
  11. By the late 1940s all Dualit toasters were made in cast aluminium and stainless steel
  12. Dualit designed and engineered a commercial six-slice toaster with a built-in timer (the first of its kind) in 1952, which bears a striking resemblance to today's model. Residents of Picton Street (where the Camberwell factory was located) and the entire Gort-Barten family were involved in its production
  13. In 1954 the Government compulsory-purchased the factory and gave Max money to build a new factory on the Old Kent Road
  14. The Dualit toaster became a ubiquitous part of commercial kitchens all over the UK, even making it on-board the QE2 in 1968
  15. Leslie Gort-Barten, Max's son joined Dualit in 1972 and in 1974 Max stepped down as Managing Director but remained an active part of the business until he was in his eighties
  16. Government export grants encouraged Dualit to attend European trade shows. Demand from foreign distributors, coupled with the 80s trend for commercial kitchen appliances, saw demand quadruple overnight and the factory was extended to increase capacity
  17. In the 80s, Canadian designer Dale Bevington gave the toaster a design update, with the shape of the toaster resembling a loaf of bread
  18. Dualit launched coffee machines in the 1980s
  19. In 1989 Max was awarded the CBE for services to the British manufacturing industry
  20. In 1999, Max and Leslie developed the patented Proheat element for its toasters, which won the company a 2000 Millennium award
  21. The Black Heat toaster elements were invented before the Pro Heat elements and were coated in a membrane that made them unbreakable and incorporated the same heatproof material used in the space shuttle
  22. In 2003, the same year that Max Gort-Barten died, the company outgrew its factory in the Old Kent Road and moved to new premises in Crawley, West Sussex
  23. Alex Gort-Barten, Leslie's son joined Dualit in 2005 having studied product design at Central Saint Martins as well as working for the product design consultancy Seymourpowell and the technology firm Philips
  24. In 2012 Dualit launched its patented, Nespresso®* compatible coffee capsules with "NX® Café Caps" Italiano and Lungo flavours
  25. At the factory in West Sussex, Dualit also has its own coffee plant, where coffee beans used to make NX® and Origins Café are ground and sealed into capsules
  26. 2014 saw the introduction of a range of new products including a multi patented, repairable Classic Kettle; a contemporary textured matt finish (Stoneware) for the Dualit Jug Kettle and Lite Toaster; a new copper finish for the Classic Toaster and Kettle as well as patented tea capsules - "It took me a year and a half to make the capsule," says Leslie Gort-Barten, "it was a challenge to depressurise the capsule in the right way and make sure there was no froth in the tea."
  27. Dualit Four Slice Classic Toasters are hand built from 168 parts
  28. Two Slice Classic Toasters are built from 141 components
  29. All Dualit Classic Toasters are made by hand by the same person from start to finish, with the assembler's name found on the base plate
  30. Dualit Classic Toasters are hand sprayed in the Dualit factory in Crawley. One of the sprayers, Brian, has worked for Dualit for the last 20 years
  31. You will also find the sprayer's handprint on the inside of each Classic Toaster casting
  32. A number of Dualit's employees have been with the company for more than 25 years! This often includes more than one member of the same family and even spans the generations
  33. New products are often put to test by the staff at the factory and their feedback is used to finalise designs
  34. The fastest assemblers can make more than 200 Classic Toasters in a week
  35. More than 2000 Classic Toasters are made every week at the West Sussex factory
  36. Dualit has its own coffee plant at its factory where coffee beans are ground, roasted and encapsulated
  37. Dualit products are now available in 54 countries
  38. MD, Leslie Gort-Barten gets his best ideas in the bath!
  39. Classic Toasters are often passed down through the generations
  40. Dualit Classic Toasters have been used on nuclear submarines and in the air!
  41. Dualit remains an independently owned, family run British business
  42. Some new toaster colours and designs are put to vote by staff members
  43. The Classic Toaster was included in the Design Museum's exhibition, "Design: Process, Progress, Practice" in London in 1999
  44. The Classic Toaster has also been exhibited at London's Victoria & Albert Museum, as part of the Metalwork Collection
  45. Dualit appliances have been featured in films such as The Holiday, Golden Eye and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
  46. Dualit has collaborated with Emma Bridgewater, The Haven, Marmite and Little Greene on special edition Classic Toasters
  47. A four-slice Classic Toaster can toast 160 slices of white bread, well done per hour / A six-slice Classic Toaster can toast 240 slices of white bread, well done per hour
  48. Dualit Classic Toasters are currently available in 28 colours
  49. Dualit fans include David Cameron, Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, Matthew Pinsent, Antonio Banderas and Gordon Ramsay
  50. In 1960 a Dualit Toaster was placed on P&O's flagship passenger line SS Canberra, in the Captain's private gallery. It sailed over 3.5 million nautical miles over the next 37 years until the Canberra was scrapped in 1997. It then served a further 11 years of toasting in the home of one the ship's former Captains
  51. Dualit are proud supporters of The Haven, breast cancer support centres as well as Macmillian Cancer Support
  52. The Classic Toaster is number 319 in Phaidon Design Classics; a list of 999 industrially manufactured objects that the design team (made up of architects, curators, journalists, academics etc) judged to be of "aesthetic value and timeless quality". Other objects that made the list include the Swiss Army Knife, Heinz Ketchup Bottle, VW Beetle and the Aga Stove
  53. Did you know that Dualit has also ranged a set of weighing scales, DAB radio, steam iron, gold plated corkscrew, pedestal fans and a 'hot air' dryer?
  54. Dualit products are stocked by retailers including John Lewis, Harrods, House of Fraser, Selfridges, Steamer Trading and Lakeland
  55. Launched in the 1964, Dualit's commercial waffle iron was "The only British Waffle Iron which makes five heart shaped waffles per ring at the same time"
  56. Dualit's top suggestions for waffle toppings were cream, treacle and jam
  57. The most popular times of day for purchases on dualit.com are 10am during the day and 8pm in the evening
  58. Dualit appliances have featured in television programmes including The Naked Chef, Saturday Kitchen, Cold Feet, Doc Martin, Midsomer Murders, Casualty, Fawlty Towers, Absolutely Fabulous, Friends and Eastenders
  59. Dualit's most expensive product to date is a 24 Carat Gold Plated Toaster for £1000 - only three are currently in existence
  60. Dualit's in-house engineering team use 4000 slices of bread per year while carrying out toaster tests
  61. Dualit Classic Toasters are quality checked three times before leaving the factory
  62. Dualit once serviced a toaster which, in its 35 years of ownership had travelled all over the world with its owner
  63. Among the weird and wonderful things found inside toasters which have been returned for repair have been tie pins, fondue forks (toasting marshmallows over a toaster!?) and a partially melted plastic toy car!
  64. In the last 20 years, Dualit has made more than 2 million toasters
  65. When the England football team qualified for Euro 2000, Leslie Gort-Barten had a large screen TV brought into the factory and extended breaks so staff could watch England games
  66. In a recent Dualit survey, 37% of respondents said that white bread is their preferred type of bread to toast, with wholemeal lagging behind with just 19% of the vote
  67. In the same survey, 30% of people said 'just butter, plain and simple' was their favourite toast topping, with a further 30% opting for jam and marmalade
  68. Each new toaster and kettle is put through 10 - 11, 000 running cycles as part of Dualit's meticulous quality control
  69. Tiptree Little Scarlet Strawberry Conserve is Leslie's favourite toast topping.
  70. Alex's is Marmalade with Marmite a close second. Melted butter is always a must!
*Nespresso® trademark is owned by Société des Produits Nestlé