In August 2010, Boy and I saw a Toas-Tite come up for sale on eBay. It was unlike anything we’d ever seen. It was industrial sized and electric. We could hardly believe that it was actually a Toas-Tite! The seller was based in Florida and we sent him a message to learn more about it, but unfortunately, he was unresponsive and 2 days after the sale went up, it was taken down without the auction finishing. Luckily, I did manage to grab the photo and a screenshot of the auction before it disappeared:
Here’s the larger version of the actual sandwich maker:
Then in May of this year, we saw another one appear on eBay but this time from Encinitas, CA. We grabbed photos and a screenshot right away but sadly we were out of town during the final stages of the bidding – something I still regret *sigh*.
Here are the other images from the Encinitas Toas-Tite:
The description from the Florida sale was rather brief but the Encinitas one was interesting:
WOW here we go… an original, vintage and fully functional ELECTRIC Toas-Tite brand sandwich maker/’flying saucer’ maker/toaster made by BAR-B-BUNS, Inc.
You see lot’s of the camping style around, but very rarely (if ever) do you see this electric version.
This unit has been in my family since the mid to late 1950’s, where my grandfather would make “flying saucer” sandwiches with his two daughters (my mother and my aunt).
We suspect it was only made available to restaurants as it would have been secured to a counter top via 4 bolt holes (see pics).
Here’s a chance to own some Real McCoy Americana.
The unit includes the following features (see pics):
– 2 heating elements to cook and toast your sandwich or toastie, one of which is controlled by a handle which moves pivoting arm that lowers a heating element on to the sandwich
– a temperature gauge /dial on the handle which controls the arm
– ‘at temperature’ indicator light
– on/off switch
– bread crust catcher
This unit is quite heavy: I estimate it to be around 30lbs.
So that got us thinking. These two units were indeed Toas-Tite branded and produced by Bar-B-Buns in Ohio. We had to track down some additional information if we could. And that’s when the search turned to the patent library. After a bit of digging, we found Patent #2587314 filed on March 31, 1949 and issued February 26, 1952.
The inventor was Mitchell A. Hall and the assignor was Bar-B-Buns, Inc.
The patent claims:
This invention relates to devices for making filled, toasted sandwiches, or the like, and is particularly directed to an improved mechanism for operating the heated, cooperating dies for devices of this character.
The patent has a few references, including Patent #2463439 which is the original hand-held Toas-Tite grill patent by Strietelmeier.
Assuming that the number on the back of the unit indicates the production number, we guess that at least 1058 of these were produced since that is the display number we made out in the Encinitas pictures.
It also sounds like our very own Toas-Tite Recipes commenter Sharon Lucchesi has one. Sharon, if you’re still reading, we’d love to hear more about it and maybe even do a post all about your unit. And if anyone else out there has one, write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can’t wait to hear from you too!