Burnt Offering: Jesus Toaster Sales Brisk, Vermont Seller Says
If there's a Christian with a sense of humor on your holiday gift list, consider the Jesus Toaster, which contains a specially designed metal plate that leaves an image of Jesus - with halo and rays of light - on every slice.
The Jesus Toaster is sold by Burnt Impressions, purveyor of "Religious & Other Simulacra on Toast at Cheap Prices!" according to its website. It is a three-person company in Danville, Vt., in the remote Northeast Kingdom area of the state.
Galen Dively, 46, the company's founder and head, said he had pulled two all-nighters over the past three days, and had enlisted friends and family, to keep up with orders.
"We were getting two or three thousand orders a day for a couple days there," he said.
Jesus is "by far" the top seller of his four stock toasters; second is the Virgin Mary, followed by the peace sign and a marijuana leaf.
Many customers bought Jesus Toasters as gifts for their "priests or preachers," Dively said.
Dively said he was rarely denounced as a blasphemer or idolater. "No death threats or mean letters," he said.
Dively founded the company a year and a half ago, after seeing a Hello Kitty toaster. Dively, who used to run a business silkscreening t-shirts (yes, some of them tie-dyed) with topical and humorous messages/images, saw a new medium for his talent.
"I'm happy, because the custom toaster business is riding the coattails of Jesus," said Dively. Buyers of custom toasters may pick two metal plates out of 26 possibilities - the Star of David, a smiley face, dog paws, assorted animals - and send a photo that the company will print on the side of the toaster.
"Obama has taken off recently," he said.
More plates are coming in January.
"I want Buddha for sure," said Dively. "And it's political season. Once we find out which Republican will go up against Obama, we'll do him, too."
Dively, who lived for many years in the Washington, D.C., area, said he was "a political animal." He is talking to two Vermont machinists who want to make his toaster plates (which are currently made by the factory that makes his four stock toasters).
"Then we could do a quicker turnaround - 48, 72 hours - we could do news on a toaster!"
What about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow?
"A half-dozen or so people have asked about Tebow," said Dively. "That, and Elvis. People always want Elvis."