Finding a needle in a haystack (part 3/3)
by Sebastien L. Delprat (aka pootoogoo)
Let me explain how I came up with the design of the second machine on the Moriondo stand. That's where the story becomes a bit more esoteric and may lead the reader to question the sanity of the author.
When, almost 3 years later, I wrote the story of Cimbali,⁷ I made my own interpretation of the famous Giuseppe Cimbali picture in front of his first repair shop (taken around 1912). I'm convinced that this picture reveals much more than Giuseppe himself: not because of the other person in the picture (likely one of his employees), but rather for the machines in the background. My hypothesis is that these two machines were carefully chosen among the only and most prestigious machines of that time: to name them, a Bezzera (at the back) and a Moriondo machine (in front).
The Bezzera, is easily identifiable, but for the Moriondo machine, one has to make a guess from the different patents themselves, to strongly feel it. That's the frontier I crossed... and hence that's where I took the model for the second machine on the stand. I designed it according to the 1885 Moriondo patent model, freely inspired by the Cimbali picture (in particular for the relative size) and added below a "Fornello ad alcool"
, similar to the kind used for heating and cooking at the time. Such a setup would allow to heat up the boiler and serve express coffees to visitors during the exhibition.
The second machine on the stand would therefore look something like this:
And here is the complete Moriondo exhibition stand compared to the original picture from 1898.
The same stand from the visitor's point of view, as thousands saw it in 1898:
Don't you think it makes sense... isn't this as if you could touch it?
Animated 3D model of the Angelo Moriondo stand (1898 Fiera di Torino, Galleria del Lavoro).⁸
I am now very confident of my conclusions.
This is not only because this would make me the discoverer of not one but three Moriondo machine pictures, but also because it is a real lesson. It shows that the truth is often in front of our eyes... but sometimes requires an effort, a change in perspective, a mix of understanding and interpretation, for it to be seen.
With regards to my intuition about the Giuseppe Cimbali picture: it is pretty clear to me now that the machine beside him is a small Moriondo machine because of its similarity with the second machine on the 1898 stand and the 1884 Moriondo patent on many aspects (the portafilter's shape, its position on the boiler, the screws on top of it and the curve on the pipe below, the taps and handles, etc.).
Anyhow, this story is too good to be wrong.
It transforms this scene into an homage to the godfather of the espresso machines, from the creator of the brand that will become a hundred years later the world's largest coffee machine manufacturer.
Another pictures that hundreds of people have seen without finding its hidden treasure...
This is even worse when part of the documents are systematically hidden: while I was preparing this article, I just discovered that there is another side to the famous Cimbali picture, and it shows what could be another Moriondo machine!
If you doubt, ask yourself how this other machine seems so old on a 1912 picture...
That would make at least four different Moriondo models. Perhaps there are other ones hidden somewhere... maybe for real... ready to be found by open eyes. For sure, it changes the perspective of Moriondo building a unique instantaneous coffee machine just for his own Caffè
So how old is the lady sitting on the Cimbali workshop step: 25 or 130 years old?
7. Ascenseur pour l'Expresso, episode 24
8. Design made under Sketchup, Video under Icecream Screen recorder, Rendering by Autodesk FBX review and Music by The Buzzcocks - Why can't I Touch it (1979)
I'd like to thank Thomas (aka bidowee), Gary Seeman (aka drgary) and last but not the least, Ian Bersten for their useful comments, corrections and suggestions about the article.
The end... (?)