“The Mustachioed Little Man”

Posted on by Jeremy Daggett

Hilary Greenbaum, in an article on The 6th Floor blog for the NYT:

The Moka Express, a stovetop espresso machine that was meant for the home, provided both an affordable espresso and a beautiful object to make it in.

Today it is unimaginable to think of Italian homes without a Bialetti. Everyone still prefers drinking an espresso at the bar—that much hasn’t changed. But the Bialetti is indispensable for the early morning caffè latte and after dinner espresso. It’s amazing just how widespread its adoption was.

I love this little bit on Bialetti’s mascot:

To differentiate his family’s machine from potential imitations, Bialetti commissioned a mascot from the Italian artist, Paul Campani, in 1953. In Italian, the figure is known as l’omino coi baffi, or “the mustachioed little man,” and was printed on the side of the coffee machine. It is rumored that l’omino is a caricature of Alfonso Bialetti himself, but according to the Bialetti historical archive, the black-suited man is actually his eldest son, Renato. In addition to l’omino‘s presence on the side of every Moka Express, he also starred in the company’s early television campaigns.

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