Alfonso Bialetti (1888–1970) was an engineer who became famous for acquiring Luigi De Ponti's invention of the Moka Express coffeemaker. Designed in 1933, the coffee pot has been a style icon since the 1950s. It is the source of nostalgia and affection for many Italians and is an essential and fashionable part of almost every Italian kitchen. While many variations of the Moka have been developed, the Moka Express is a time-honoured classic. Bialetti was also the founder of Bialetti Industrie S.p.A, the now giant Italian kitchen-ware company.
Bialetti first acquired his metal-working skills by working for a decade in the French aluminium industry. By 1919 he had established his own metal and machine workshop in Crusinallo (his native Piedmont) to make aluminium products: this was the foundation of the Bialetti company. He transformed his workshop – Alfonso Bialetti & C. Fonderia in Conchiglia – into a studio for design and production.
The Bialetti mascot with his index finger held up as if ordering another espresso. In Italian he is called l’omino con i baffi - "the mustachioed little man". The mascot is a caricature of Alfonso's son, Renato Bialetti by Illustrator Paolo "Paul" Campani.