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Bill O'Brien and Harry Norville
In 1932, Bill O'Brien and Harry Norville mixed their last names together and the Breville brand was created. They started off making radios, then mine detectors for the war. After World War II and the commencement of television transmission in Australia in 1956, Breville turned its attention to small appliances. It also commenced manufacturing television sets under the Precedent brand name. The television business was sold to Electronic Industries Limited in 1968.
The O'Brien family continued developing the Breville business for three generations, with Bill's son John O'Brien setting up the Breville Research and Development centre in the late 1960s, and his daughter Barbara, running the Marketing department throughout the 1990s. John continued to passionately steer many product development initiatives for the Breville brand up until his passing in December 2004. The research and development centre continues to design dozens of small appliance products today and has helped Breville become a world leader in many small appliance categories. What started with one designer and an engineer in 1968, is today one of Australia's largest and most innovative industrial design centers, and one of the largest worldwide in the small electrical appliance industry.