(ANSA) - Omegna, August 19 - Italy's famed Bialetti stovetop
coffeemaker is turning 80 years old.
Designed in 1933 by Alfonso Bialetti in this northwestern
town, the simple-yet-elegant Moka Express percolator has been in
virtually every Italian kitchen since the 1950s.
Bialetti said he came up with the idea by watching women
wash clothes on the banks of the local lake.
As they boiled lye, a foamy substance would ooze through a
separate container up above where laundry was kept, just as his
percolators eventually would erupt coffee through a filter and
into an upper canister.
In the postwar economic boom, his son Renato put modern
industrial technology behind the manufacturing process, turning
out some 200 million products over time.
The product was made immediately recognisable among similar
products thanks to its mascot-logo, a caricature of its
inventor's son: a little man with a big nose and a moustache,
dressed in a dark jacket, striped pants and wearing a bow tie,
holding up his finger as if ordering another espresso.
To honor the coffeemaker's birthday, Omegna is holding a
series of commemorative events.