Sunday, December 19, 2021

Jet O Matic Brewing

Yesterday was a particularly good estate saling day, and it happened all at one home.

It began with my weekly perusing of the listings on There weren't many sales in my area, but one was particularly close and while looking through the posted photos, I saw this:

It's a little hard to see, but on the vintage dryer is a vintage toaster.  More on that in a later post, but that was my reason for heading out at 7:30 a.m. to stand in line in order to get a line ticket for this sale (if that makes sense).
The house was located on a gravel side street and didn't offer much parking, and what parking that was there was more like a swamp due to the previous day's rain.  Additionally, the temperatures had dropped overnight, so I was now standing on soggy ground in 34 degree weather.  There were about 10 of us waiting for the line tickets.  The first person in line said they'd been waiting there since 5:30 a.m., which considering I was #5 in line having arrived at 7:40, I felt was a little excessive. When they handed out the tickets, I grabbed one for myself and one for my sister (possibly a slight breach of estate sale etiquette, but no one said anything) who wanted to come along that morning, tickets 5 and 6.  Normally, my wife and daughter attend, but my wife was making Christmas cookies and my daughter was zonked out from a late night out with friends.

After getting the ticket, I headed over to my sister's house which is only a couple miles from the sale and hung out drinking coffee until it came time to leave (the sale opened at 9).

We arrived a few minutes before the door opened and easily got in with the first 20 people they allowed.

Everyone in front of me headed to the basement which is where the toaster was located.  I just KNEW they were all headed for that toaster because of its value (again, more on that later).

Though I knew from the picture the toaster was on the vintage dryer, the minute I got into the basement my brain just blanked out.  I headed toward a Hoosier cabinet in the basement thinking I'd seen it there.  Of course it wasn't, but some brain blockage prevented me from realizing my error.  Precious seconds ticked by when suddenly my sister walked up to me with it in her hands.  She'd found it exactly where it had been shown in the estate sale listing.  I know this post sounds like it's going to be about that toaster, but I'm saving that (I still to get some decent photos of it).

Having secured my goal, I relaxed and casually looked at everything, going back to the Hoosier cabinet I'd first stared at.  I'd see a coffee maker on it, but thought it was one I already had (a GE 18P40) based on its shape.  However, taking a closer look, I saw it said "Jet".

Chrome reflection cameo appearance of yours truly

I'd never heard of this brand of coffee maker, but I found it was a 1950's Jet O Matic coffee maker.

At first, I thought it was a standard percolator, although the stem looked intriguingly involved.

It was $6 and I couldn't resist adding it to my collection of coffee makers (I have a vintage appliance obsession/issue).  

Getting it home, I did a little research and was surprised to learn it wasn't in fact a percolator, but rather used the patented "Jet Pump" to control the distribution of the water during brewing.  From what I can see, essentially, the Jet Pump is a similar to a percolator stem except that it's filled with a wire mesh in the bell-shaped end which restricts the water from shooting through quickly. To be honest, aside from that hiccup of water spurting out, it still brews in a similar fashion as a percolator with the water flowing over the basket of grounds.

One other boast the Jet O Matic makes is that it never boils the coffee, the temperature never exceeding 202 degrees.

While its brewing, the "jet pump" has a unique sound and really does (kind of) sound like a jet engine:

When the is done (which takes about 10 minutes), the "Jet" indicator light glows red.

I have to say, it actually makes a pretty good cup of coffee.

There's not a whole lot of information on the internet about this coffee maker outside of this site.

Invented in 1951 by veteran appliance innovator Maurice H. Graham, the Jet O Matic was likely an attempt to leverage the excitement around the emerging jet airplane technology.  It would appear the "jet" coffee maker concept never took off (see what I did there) and was soon grounded (someone stop me!).  

While you would think this would make this coffee maker desirable, they can be bought on eBay in the $30 range, although there is a gold-colored model that sells for $100.

Maurice Graham passed away just 4 years after the release of his Jet O Matic coffee maker in 1955.

Oh, and I'll get to the toaster in a future post. Oooooh, the suspense!  Well, not really, you know I already got it.


  1. damn that's a sexy coffee maker. i've never heard of Jet-O-Matic, but it's really cool. i love how the midcentury period had so many "supersonic jet" and "rocket/space" things influencing styles of everyday objects. i love that whole look: chrome, fins, rounded shapes and evenly space lines. oh, and PLASTICS, haha (so futuristic!). while i prefer Bakelite, early plastics were treated so much more artfully than shortly after, when plastic switch to being used on everything, everywhere, all the time.

    1. That's possibly the first time anyone ever called a coffee maker sexy, but I agree. Coffee makers today look so utilitarian with no design elements beyond the essential.

    2. really? nah. "sexy" gets tossed around in art and design all the time, i think. it's just a way to underline that something is extra beautiful. i agree that things are much more utilitarian now. speaking of beautiful coffee makers, have you seen the Belgian Siphon makers? just the thing for your next steampunk adventure!, i think it's a lot of work for only that much coffee, but it sure LOOKS cool.)

    3. That IS cool. Looks like a science experiment!


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