Phelan – the man who founded Broaster
and story reprised from a mid-1950's Flavor-Fast Foods
Phelan was a man who refused to accept the adage "It can't
be done." From boyhood on, successfully applied
inventions were his vocation and avocation. When his
search for a fast and simple method to prepare foods led him to
the conclusion there was no such method in existence, it was
only natural for him to invent one. So with inspiration
and perspiration he succeeded.
a very young man Phelan worked with inventors of carton-making
machinery, oil burners, steam traps, and other items. From
1901 to 1920 he was associated with such concerns and projects
as American Car and Foundry Company, Monsanto Chemical Company,
Panama Canal project, Allis Chalmers Company, and Goodyear Tire
and Rubber Company in the fields of invention and development.
from 1912 to 1920, Phelan was busy inventing and developing the
original, non-deteriorating mercury switch on which he
eventually obtained 52 patents and the likes of which enjoyed
1920 he created the Absolute Con-tac-Tor Corporation for the
production and sale of the mercury switch. This company
grew from its original location in Chicago, to Beloit,
Wisconsin, and finally to Elkhart, Indiana. Also to his
credit is the fact that he conceived and built the first
automatic gasoline pump, the first automatic toilet, the first
automatic commercial refrigerator, and first and only automatic
continuous ice cream freezer. In addition, he was the
first employer to use music during working hours to increase the
happiness and productivity of workers.
1928 Phelan disposed of the Absolute Con-tac-Tor Corporation,
and after an extended period of world travel, returned to take
over the Taylor Freezer Corporation in Beloit in which he had
previously invested. Under his direction Taylor became a
recognized leader in the ice cream freezer industry. At
that time, there were more Taylor freezers in use around the
world than all other freezers combined.
1936 Phelan started another enterprise, X-Ray Quality Equipment,
devoted to the manufacture and sale of quality x-ray tubes –
this at a time when the manufacture of x-ray tubes was mostly
confined to the General Electric Company and a few German
firms. This organization operated profitably until 1949
when fire completely destroyed the plant.
1945, after many years of legal research, Phelan embarked on a
completely unique program of combining the basic principles of
profit-sharing, ownership-responsibility, and business
management by organizing a group of over forty of his employees
into a company know as Tekni-Craft. Tekni-Craft was
organized as a partnership of employees using Taylor Freezer
Corporation's plant and facilities to produce the Taylor Freezer
line – a plan which is said to have been a tremendous success
in every respect.
another successful Phelan business venture was a chain of frozen
custard stores called Zesto – a nationally operating franchise
organization using Zest-O-Mat freezers, which were invented,
designed, and developed by Phelan.
an inventor, designer, manufacturer, financier, and business
manager, Phelan was associated with successful inventions and
their development all of his life. The crowning
achievement of his career came when he invented "Broasting"
in 1954, a revolutionary method of preparing chicken, fish, and
other foods by combining pressure cooking and deep frying
first Broaster pressure fryers were manufactured by Flavor Fast
Foods, Inc., a company formed under the leadership of Phalen and
staffed by people associated with Tekni-Craft. Two years
later, in 1956, The Broaster Company was officially formed as a
partnership and began selling the Broaster line of specialty
foodservice equipment, accessories, and food product ingredients
through a nationwide distributor organization, and as they say,
the rest is history!
Back to top
of page Back to
About Broaster page
Back to Home