Italy’s “Coffee Pot King” Was Laid to Rest in the Iconic Invention
Renato Bialetti dedicated his life to the Moka Express coffee pot. Now, in death, the businessman will maintain close ties to the appliance. On February 15, Bialetti's ashes were laid to rest in an oversized coffee maker, Quartz reports.
Bialetti was born an heir to a burgeoning coffee pot empire, reports Italian website The Local. His father, aluminum vendor Alfonso Bialetti, first bought the Moka pot’s design from an inventor in the 1930s. The elder Bialetti patented the design—an aluminum coffee pot with a Bakelite handle. It would go on to become the famous family business.
Sales were slow until Renato took over in the 1940s. He focused his attention on branding, not sales, and began labeling each Moka pot with L’omino coi baffi—the little man with a mustache that’s so familiar today. With one big marketing campaign, Renato turned the Moka pot into a household fixture, first in Italy, and then around the world. Today, the Bialettis' company has sold hundreds of millions of coffee pots, and the pot itself has been exhibited in design museums.
Renato Bialetti died last week at the age of 93. To honor his passion, Bialetti’s family decided to have his ashes interred in an enormous Moka Express. You can watch a short clip of Bialetti’s funeral mass in the video below.
Bialetti is not the first legend to be laid to rest in his life’s work. Fredric J. Baur invented the Pringles can in the 1960s. When he passed away in 2008, some of his ashes were buried in one of his creations.