La Pavoni Ideale 1929

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#1: Post by Paul_Pratt »

I thought I would share some photos of my new purchase, it's not really a lever but this seemed like the most appropriate place for her. A 1929 La Pavoni Ideale 2 group. This is the Mignon version, the smallest size - it is still very impressive in stature and weighs in around 80kg

What do I plan on doing with her? The short answer is not much, my plan is to gently clean her, make sure it is safe to use and hopefully make some coffee. I am trying to understand the primitive heating elements as it is electric and not gas. In order to feel comfortable with attempting to use it, I have started to remove the boiler end plate to see what the state is. The end plate is naturally cast iron.

I do not plan on doing anything with the sight glass and steam valve gaskets, just leave them as is. I will have a look at them and see what they are like inside. The same with the actual group.

The reason I chose this machine is because it is complete and has both portafilters and baskets.
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#2: Post by IamOiman »

I'm surprised there was no asbestos insulation on the boiler! Rather it was the gaskets that had all of the asbestos. The ID Plate on the boiler is pretty cool, reminds of the ones on the older La San Marco machines and a few other brands.

I'll let you have dibs on all the old column machines for now Paul :D ! I have too many other machines on my list I would like to try and obtain before any of these old school machines. But please take as many photos as you can since this is not a common machine we see around here!
Using a spice grinder violates the Geneva Convention
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#3: Post by DanoM »

Looking forward to seeing what it looks like post cleanup! Definitely a great piece of history there.
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#4: Post by Paul_Pratt (original poster) »

Ryan, yes correct I was expecting some insulation but it appears to have had some work in the last decade or so. A repair to the top sight glass fitting on the boiler and some new wiring. Presumably when the silver solder to the fitting (the one directly underneath the boiler data plate) was done they removed the asbestos.

This is the underside of the machine. Some work was done on the wiring and a thermostat was added. The thermostat bulb was just soldered to the boiler end plate.

If you zoom in you can see the primitive heating elements. I was expecting an electrode boiler where the current flows through the water creating heat but it appears to be a resistance element, albeit very basic. I will investigate next week but from what I see the resistance wire is sandwiched between insulating mica sheets which heats an iron jacket which then heats the water.

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#5: Post by mborkow »

Beautiful: keep the pics coming :-)

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#6: Post by guijan12 »

Very nice find :!:
I'm curious to see what you will do with it.
Hopefully it will make you a nice cup of coffee one day :wink:


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#7: Post by drgary »

Paul, do you currently or have plans to document your deep collection or exhibit any of it? Sorry if I've missed it if it is already online somewhere.

What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!

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#8: Post by Paul_Pratt (original poster) » replying to drgary »

One day I will try and document everything. But finding the time is difficult at the moment.

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#9: Post by Paul_Pratt (original poster) »

I have managed to remove the bottom end plate, the steel bolts were as stubborn as you would expect after 90 years. Since the boiler has a hand painted number on the outside I had to carefully descale the inside only. So some silicone plugs worked great at plugging all the holes. The flange of the boiler is quite a familiar design, there is a large steel collar for the bolts to clamp on to which is in pretty good condition.

A commercial descaler in action. The water is hot - don't ask how I rigged up a heater.

After a day I drained it for a look, most of the scale has gone.

After scraping the old gasket and after some cleaning, what was revealed was one of the most wonderful things I think I have found over the years. The boiler has some amazing hammer marks from when it was beaten into shape.

I believe that they added lead solder onto that surface to get a more even finish, I will do the same. I could use a modern sealant or even worse sand it smooth, but I will go with the solder like they had done.

Lastly I did a bit more investigation on the heating elements. The elements are held in place by a steel cone. The cone is split in 3 places and by inserting a tapered pin, you can expand the cone thereby holding the elements in place. I am not sure what I would gain by trying to remove them, I was just curious to see what they were like and if they could be made to work. So I may just leave them as is. I cannot use the entire bottom plate anyway, it is just too rusty to use, so I will just leave the elements and the plate alone and put them away for safekeeping.


#10: Post by Giampiero »

A machine shaped with a chisel from a solid chunk :)