The dashtop appliances from NESCO arrived today. They are so darn cute. And beyond retro, in the sense that they remain completely unchanged from their siblings of 30, perhaps even 40 years ago.
On display are the Home’n Away dual-power fry pan and the Travl-Toast single-slice toaster. The fry pan is cleverly constructed so that it can use either 120V AC or 12V DC power, and it has a cord for each source. The toaster is of a design that I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s shaped rather like a purse, complete with handle. The toast cage pulls out of the top, and the toast (or sandwich or fruit-filled tart) is inserted into the cage, then the cage is guided back down into the toaster body.
Don’t let their compact dimensions fool you. These are devices for the competent man-chef, not for the coddled nor easily distracted. You’ll find no frou-frou frills such as on-off switches, temperature sensors, or protective cladding. You plug them in, they get hot, the food cooks, end of story.
One of the puzzling things about these gadgets is who actually made them. It’s pretty clear that they were manufactured in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. But by which company? NESCO? EMPIRE? METAL WARE? I hesitate to even make a guess. Beyond that is the question of which product line they belong to. The Pot’n Pop saucepan / popper appears to be part of the TravlMates by EMPIRE line. Yet both it and the Travl-Toast are METAL WARE “GO” products. The fry pan is not clearly either a Travl Mate or a “GO” product. Quite the little enigmas.
The best part of the instructions, for the Travl-Toast:
“Any food that is normally eaten cold will be improved when heated in this appliance. Sandwiches of any type are especially good, from peanut butter and jelly to lettuce and salami. A single slice of bread can also be toasted.”
It looks like Empire Metal Ware used to make nifty little electric steam engines. Jensen still makes the world’s least efficient but coolest desk lamp.
Hey Two Rivers is next door to my home town! Way to buy “local”! It turns out that Nesco is a division of Metal Ware – http://www.nesco.com/about_us/
I thought there might also be a connection to Hamilton-Beach/Proctor Silex as I recall hearing folks back home talk about working for “Hamilton” in Two Rivers and making small home appliances, but I haven’t been able to substantiate that yet.
Just a random thought that I want to preserve… At the Farm & Fleet the other night, I bought a replacement fuel cap for the Jeep, a replacement toilet seat, and a Mr. Buddy portable heater. The cashier’s comment: “That’s a very common combination lately.”