A Pizzelle Iron is the appliance used in baking Pizzelle (an Italian cookie). A small spoonful of dough is placed in the center of the iron, the lid closed, and in less than a minute you have a cookie.
The history of these irons dates back centuries to the middle of Italy. Flat cookies were baked on irons, over open fires, and imprinted with the family crest. As time went on irons could be purchased with the crest engraved.
The first irons were made of heavy metals, normally a cast iron type. They ranged from 2 inches to 5 inches in diameter and consisted of two flat surfaces with hinges on one side and long handles on the other. Dough was placed into the center of the paddle, the handles squeezed tightly, and the iron held into the fire for a moment. The resultant cookie was flat and wafer like. Once removed from the iron the cookie could be shaped, while still warm.
In 1956 Charles DeMarco marketed the first electric Pizzelle Iron. In actuality, it was the second iron made. The first he had produced in 1942. He and his neighbors enjoyed many batches of Pizzelles until it burned out. Prior to repairing his iron he realized that many people would enjoy owning their own, and he began selling them from his home in Steubenville, Ohio. This first iron looked very similar to waffle irons, but closed much more tightly to achieve the desired 3/16" thickness of the cookie.
Today you can purchase either electric or stove top Pizzelle Irons. The designs of imprint have remained very similar to the irons of long ago. Fancy basket weave or floral patterns are the most common. The more known manufacturers of electric Pizzelle Irons include Rival®, VillaWare®, and West Bend®. They range in price from $25 to over $75. Capacity ranges from 2 - 4 cookies per batch. Some models have built in timer lights to let you know when the cookie is done.
Information above was gathered in part at the following websites: