A Domestic History: The Breville Company from 1932 to Present 


In the early 1970s, a small, seemingly innocuous kitchen appliance was invented that would go on to revolutionize the small appliance industry. Almost overnight, mothers throughout Australia learned to depend on this electrical device that would turn an ordinary cheese sandwich into something that was warm, melty, gooey, and irresistible to children. To top it off, the signature design of this appliance would not only toast the sandwich, but would cut it diagonally and seal the edges to create an entirely new sandwich known as a jaffle, or simply as the Breville.

Today, the Australian-based Breville Company still holds true to the innovation that inspired the original Breville sandwich toaster. Breville appliances are made to meet kitchen needs that cooks, chefs, and mothers alike didn’t know they had, and to make cooking good food easier in ways most people hadn’t even imagined possible. Even as long ago as 1932, forty-two years before the invention of the sandwich toaster, these principles guided the company’s leaders so that it could become the globally recognized innovator that it is today.

Founded by Bill O’Brien and Harry Norville, the Breville Company started out as a humble manufacturer of radios. For three decades the company sold radios and television sets, and for awhile, mines for military use. After World War II, however, Breville saw the need for something different and began producing small appliances. Throughout the years, the company stayed in its birthplace of Melbourne, Australia.

When the Breville snack ‘n’ sandwich maker hit the market in 1974, Australia knew that Breville had stumbled onto something big. A lineup of innovative products would follow in the years to come, including Australia’s first food processor and the whole fruit juicer featured in the popular 2010 documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. With so many of its products making life in the kitchen easier for thousands of Australians, Breville knew it had to go international.

In 2002, Breville was introduced to the United States and Canada as the Breville Group. The company now operates in over thirty countries, with many of its products sold under the brands Bork, Catler, Solis, and Stollar throughout Europe. It also owns the brand name Sage by Heston Blumenthal in the UK and Ireland. Throughout this expansion, Breville remained true to its Australian roots.

The late 1990s saw the very beginning of this rapid growth. The Breville Group moved to Botany, where more space and a fresh environment would stimulate creativity among the company’s in-house designers and developers. The headquarters remained in Botany during eighteen years of growth and prosperity, until they finally moved again in 2015 to Alexandria. The new headquarters are a unique and modern testament to the products that Breville makes, as well as a tribute to the company’s long and rich history. The feature wall of the reception room is an impressive jaffle design, toasting the appliance and the sandwich that helped Breville become the company, brand, and possibly even the legend that it is today.

Catherine Speak is a full time mom and loves to spend time in the kitchen. She is a regular contributor for family and lifestyle websites and loves being able to share her ideas and suggestions with an online audience.