The Bialetti Moka Express, invented by Luigi De Ponti and Alfonso Bialetti, was produced for the first time in 1933. One of the most famous and widely known examples of Italian industrial design, it is part of the collection of the Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection. It’s name derives from the city of Mohka, Yemen, which was one of the earliest sources of the highest quality Arabica coffee beans. The inspiration for the coffee pot’s design was apparently the functioning of the clothes washer his wife used.
The caffettiera (”coffee maker” in Italian) was made famous, though, after 1946 by Alfonso’s son Renato. It is Renato whose portrait became the company’s logo which is named “l’omino coi baffi” (”the man with the moustache”).
Renato Bialetti passed away at the age of 93 on 11 February 2016, and yesterday (16 February) the Italian press reported that according with the wishes of his children, Renato’s ashes were interred using a moka in place of a funerary urn.