In the USA, June 29 is dedicated annually to the waffle iron, that great kitchen gadget that makes delicious waffles. It’s an important celebration for breakfast lovers the world over.
The origin of the waffle iron
The earliest versions of the waffle were flat cakes called obelios made from cereal flour and water that date back to ancient Greece. Medieval Europeans started making waffles in the Netherlands and Belgium in the 14th century. Ancient irons consisted of two metal plates connected by hinges that were attached to wooden handles. The cook would hold them over an open fire or on the hearth and try not to burn the waffles – or themselves. These early waffle irons often included designs, almost like etchings, that left imprints on the waffle.
In 1869, a man named Cornelius Swarthout patented the first American waffle iron. His new design made it possible to bake waffles over the burner of a wood or gas stove. It also included a pivoting hinge to make the iron easier to turn over and less likely to burn the hand of the cook. Swarthout’s device became so popular that less than fifty years later General Electric began producing the first electric waffle irons for everyday use.
Today, most residential waffle irons are powered by electricity. Bakeries, pastry shops, and the catering industry, on the other hand, prefer gas-powered waffle irons. The baking result of a gas waffle iron is significantly better than that of an electric device due to the intensive heat transfer. Professional gas-powered waffle irons are also particularly suited for mobile operations, such as food trucks, as they run independently of a fixed power supply.
Belgian manufacturer HVD Belgium specializes in professional gas waffle irons and jigs for baking various types of waffles, ice cream cones, galettes, and crepes. HVD even creates custom designs for waffle irons according to customer specifications. Another cool fact about HVD waffle irons is that they are controlled by Maxitrol’s GV32 combination gas control valves. The GV32 provides high performance and a constant temperature for perfect baking results.
Well … work up an appetite? Today is the perfect opportunity to get the waffle iron out of the cupboard and make some fresh waffles (I’ll be having mine with whipped cream and strawberries!). Share your favorite waffle recipes, too. Happy Waffle Iron Day!
Did you know that?
Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman invented the first waffle-soled running shoe in 1970 by pouring molten urethane into his wife’s waffle iron. Bowerman, then a track coach at the University of Oregon, used the waffle iron to design a sole for shoes that would be lightweight but also grip a surface. This design would be called the Moon Shoe in 1972 and the Waffle Trainer in 1974. His waffle iron shoe helped drive the growth of Blue Ribbon Sports / Nike.