29 August 2011

The Moustachioed Little Man

Some designs are just absolutely right. One product that marries superb, simple design and a perfectly suited material is the Bialetti Moka Express. Engineer Alfonso Bialetti worked in the French aluminium industry, and formed his own company in 1919. He acquired Luigi De Ponti's design for a coffeepot in 1933, and the design hasn't changed since.

Made in aluminium, not a material traditionally used for domestic items at the time, the pot was sold only locally, in Piedmont, until WWII, when the metal became scarce. Production took off after the war, and since 1953 the pot has carried a caricature by cartoonist Paolo Campani, supposedly of Alfonso's son - l'omino con i baffi. Perfect for 1950s Airstreams and vintage kin.

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