Friday, February 19, 2016

Coffeemaker king Bialetti has died

Renato Bialetti recently died at the age of 93. He had been at the head of the glorious Bialetti firm, known for the famous and beautiful Moka espresso coffeemaker. The company was set up by his father Alfonso and taken over by son Renato after the war. During the Italian economic boom of the 50's and 60's, Renato Bialetti used the new medium of television advertising skillfully. When I was a child in Italy I remember the commercials they made with l'omino coi baffi (the little man with the moustache, based on Renato himself.)

Note that the little man's mouth changes shape constantly to form the letters of the words he's saying. When I was a kid I was entranced by this. Hell, I'm still entranced by this. I would try to to keep up with the letters forming the words. Impossible then and now.

Renato Bialetti retained his playful spirit to the end. His ashes were placed in a giant Moka coffemaker and blessed by the priest while those gathered sang solemn hymns.