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 Fashion Issue 47 Hot Desk The many faces of a multifunctional workstation. Design Inside Looking Out A rewilding of interior design in the heart of Milan. Design Issue 44 An Unmovable Feast A place setting stitched for every season. Design Partnerships Together Again The return of the small gathering, in partnership with Fritz Hansen. Design Issue 42 Light Snack A luminous celebration of gelatin. Design Interiors Issue 42 Studio Tour: Fernando Caruncho Gardens sit between the natural and the artificial. George Upton meets the man mediating between the two.