Nuovo Simonelli make the best espresso machines
Discover the history of the Nuovo Simonelli brand and machine
Prior to 1884 there had been a number of interesting ways to brew coffee.
Among them were percolators, vacuum brewers and simple coffee pots. But when Angelo Moribondo submitted his patented machine at the General Exhibition, Valentino Park that same year, the espresso machine was officially born.
Luigi Bezzera, a Milanese, picked up the idea and developed its potential for industrialisation, obtaining his first patent in 1901, a machine that became the typical design template of the era.
But it was Desiderio Pavoni who was most influential because it was he who saw the potential of the invention for business and began selling them to bars and cafés, quickly setting a trend in society.
However, as technology began to change the landscape of modern Italy, one man, Pier Terisio Arduino, realised that these machines were not able to keep up with a bustling city crowd and set about a new design for the modern consumer, faster and more compact. He knew that to achieve this end he would have to redesign the boiler of the machine.
He called the new design the Victoria and after constant decade long development received the patent and property rights in 1910.
Of course now Pavoni and Arduino were now in competition with one another, and with dozens of others who were now submitting patents for their own machines, hoping to capitalize on the success of the former two. Fifteen patents were issued in 1911, eleven in 1912, twenty two in 1913 and twelve in 1914.
Then The Great War spread its gloom and terror over Europe, however Arduino continued to develop designs obtaining one patents in 1915 for the Portafilter and one in 1918 for the Automatic Machine. His success was not abated and in 1922 he began to investigating the possibility of advertising. A collaboration between him and artist Leonetto Cappiello led to one of the most iconic advertising posters of the twenties.
A man of stylish elegance dressed in a yellow greatcoat and white, black trimmed fedora, leans out of a train door, only rescuing himself from falling by holding onto the rail with one hand, and with the other he sweeps a bright red coffee cup beneath the shining Victoria Arduino per caffé espresso machine which exudes vaporous tentacles of espresso into seven other bright red coffee cups.
At the time Cappiello was famous for his advertising posters and with this image admirably conveyed the fast pace of the machine and of the consumer who wanted caffé espresso to go and all with stylish alacrity. Arduino continued to develop his machine and by the end of the second world war had two more patents.
By this time the carnage war had begun to give way to economic renewal and optimism. Demand had not flagged and new competitors arose in the espresso machine universe. Achille Gaggia made lever operated machines that depended on pressure rather than steam with the result that the infusion was made with ground coffee and boiling water only. It could be said that it was the first domestic machine for “Crema Cafe”, a espresso with more body and aroma than before with the Classic by Gaggia being the most iconic, on the market in 1948.
Other manufacturers who did not steal the limelight in the same way as Gaggia were Bezzera, La Pavoni, La Cimbali, La San Marco, Simonelli, Rancilio and Faema. Dozens others arose, always with the emphasis on style and good coffee, iconic items that turn a dull bar into a bustling café, a coffee lover into a connoisseur.
Arduino never stopped innovating and in 1951 came up with a Carrel bar, a kind of trailer with a coffee machine incorporated in it which could be attached to a vehicle and driven to remote locations.
They were a complete success and became a part of the background at events, stations and anywhere people gathered.
Another innovation was the E-61, named after the solar eclipse of 1952, which was a machine with a hydraulic pump action. Invented by Nuova Simonelli the E-61 changed barista practice with its pouring process and it is still in use today.
The Castiglione brothers in 1962 invented the Pitagora machine which won the the Compasso d’oro, the Italian prime award for design. By 1975 electronics had bled into the espresso machine and were commonplace in the 1980s. The volumetric pump and dosing became useful additions in models such as the ISX by Nuovo Simonelli. Who knows what innovations are to come for espresso, but issues like energy efficiency and temperature stability are sure to gain increasing traction, and clever stylish design will never go out of fashion.
As the World Barista Championships contenders should know, as their non-profit organisation brings some glamour to the baristas job and to the espresso universe in general.
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