The Moka Express is ubiquitous in Italy, anchored to the stovetop of nine out of 10 Italian kitchens. The rest of the world is no stranger to this humble espresso maker either—over 270 million Moka pots have been sold internationally, and it features in the permanent collections of both New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Design Museum. Its inventor, Alfonso Bialetti, was born in 1888 in the sleepy lakeside town of Omegna, Italy. As rumor has it, he began developing the Moka Express in 1931 following a failed attempt at building a motorcycle. Bialetti was not a designer but a metallurgist, an entrepreneur and, according to Harvard professor and cultural historian Jeffrey Schnapp, “a tinkerer.” This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Three Buy Now Related Stories Design Issue 50 Frama The creative company where community is more than just a mood board. Food Issue 50 Sopa de Pan A Lil’ Deb’s Oasis recipe. Design Issue 49 At Work With: Muller Van Severen How a home renovation birthed one of Europe’s most distinguished design duos. Design Fashion Issue 49 Reid Bartelme & Harriet Jung An inquiry into costume design. Design Interiors Issue 49 Mimi Shodeinde An audience with the architect. Design Interiors Issue 48 At Work With: Studio Utte A visit to the small, sophisticated Milanese studio of Patrizio Gola & Guglielmo Giagnotti.