Incomplete list of Gravity-fed lever machines

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#1: Post by hbuchtel »

As this forum is such a great collection of lever-machine information, I though it would be appropriate to have a list of existing lever-machine models. I have been caught up with the recent interest in gravity-lever or open-boiler designs and have been collecting photos of these models. I hope somebody else can put together a list of steam-pressure lever machines (Pavoni, Olympia, etc) and of commercial levers.

Some of the pictures are from past ebay auctions, some are from members of this or other forums, and some were downloaded from various on-line collections. I haven't kept track of where the pictures are from, unfortunately, and I hope there are no objections to displaying them here! (if you see a pic that you took let me know and I'll credit it)

I've made an attempt at putting them chronological order according to dates of manufacture, but am not too confident about its accuracy.

Please contribute more photos, models, and information! Special thanks to member missionhb for his many contributions!

There are many types of Lever-machines. These ones rely on gravity or suction rather then high boiler pressure to fill the piston-chamber, and the boiler temperature and group-head temperature are equalized. There are many types: open-boiler (un-pressurized), closed-boiler, pour-over and HX.

The following models are open-boiler-

Gaggia Gilda (1952)
Manual single lever, 45mm basket

and her big sister-

Gaggia Gilda (1954)
Manual dual lever

Campeona Model "22"

Arrarex Caravel
Manual lever, 43mm basket

Zerowatt CA708
Manual lever

Bruni "Brunella"
Manual lever

Campoena Bambina

Jata Piccolo Bar

FE-AR La Peppina
Spring lever

La Peppina, with a more familiar shape

a curious modification

Conti Comocafe
Spring lever

Arrarex Little
Manual lever (manufactured by Zerowatt, 1978)

Comocafe (later model)
Spring lever

Mini Gaggia/ Minimoka
Spring lever, 58mm basket

and in white, the "Pierre Cardin" model-

These are designed to run at brew-temperature but also have the option of steaming-

Faema Faemina

La Cimbali

La Peppina w/ steam wand

Mini Gaggia w/ steam wand

Zerowatt CA310
58mm basket

Also worth mentioning are the Pour-overs

Faema Baby (or Faemina?)
(perhaps not enough pressure for espresso)
Manual lever, non-standard basket/PF

Therefore Design/ All-Clad Presso
Manual lever, 49mm basket

Truesso (version 2)
Manual, 58mm basket

and in a category by itself, a novel HX-
Gaggia Achille
Manual lever, 58mm basket

and two mystery machines . . .

Zerowatt ?, 1954

Mystery Machine...

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#2: Post by mogogear »

What a sneaky way to get your "new"Zerowatt in the forum :wink: Hey Henry- I have a question...........Hunan? give a little of the story- please. Curiosity has the best of me.
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#3: Post by timo888 »

On the beige Zerowatt sitting so prettily on the tablecloth, what do you do for steam if it's an open boiler? Do you close off the boiler to let pressure build up (if so how?) or is there a separate closed boiler?

Had I known the Z was an open boiler, you'd have had some competition on that auction :) I would have bought a voltage transformer for that peachy beauty.


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#4: Post by another_jim »

There's a French line of machines, called Como (I think, could be Garda or one of the other lakes), from the 50s, which look like Peppinas with glass kettles (that is they have the one armed bandit side lever); but at least some models were commercial and quite beefy. They show up on French and Italian ebay on occasion. I don't know about their pressure or shot volume characteristics; they could be demi-tasse, rather than espresso machines. The two armed baby faema qualifies more as a demi-tasse machine, since the portafilter has no basket (as far as I know) and is designed for lower pressure brewing.
Jim Schulman

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hbuchtel (original poster)

#5: Post by hbuchtel (original poster) »

re: Zerowatt CA301- I'm excited to get my hands on it, but haven't written anything about it yet 'cause I hardly know anything! I don't think it is 'open boiler' like the Caravel or Peppina, where you can open the lid completely, but there should be a cap to seal the boiler and two thermostat settings, one for brewing, one for steaming . . . I hope!

re: Hunan- Came here several years ago to work, now studying TCM and working on a family :)

re: French "Como," "Grada" etc. Jim, do you have any pictures of these machines? I've never come across one. Thanks for the information about the Faema, I'll update the description.

The list is also missing pictures of the Peppina with steam wand, and a non-commercial (is that important?) shot of the Gaggia Achille, if anybody can send one I'll stick it into the post.


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#6: Post by mogogear »

hbuchtel wrote:re: Hunan- Came here several years ago to work, now studying TCM and working on a family :)
TCM-Now there's a prickly subject :wink:
greg moore

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hbuchtel (original poster)

#7: Post by hbuchtel (original poster) »

I just came across the French brand Jim mentioned, the "Comocafe." Picture added to first post.


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#8: Post by another_jim » replying to hbuchtel »

That's the one! If I ever see the larger model again, I'll post it.
Jim Schulman

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#9: Post by timo888 »

Is the Gaggia Achille gravity-fed? It looks to be pressurized.

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#10: Post by timo888 »

Gaggia Gilda 1948