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Madeleine Morley: In-home coffee maker that emancipated women

Via 99U

An article on the famous Moka Express and how it contributed to women’s emancipation in the ’30s, shedding an interesting light on this beloved product. 

The original story has spectacular visuals, so be sure to check out the full article

Here are a few highlights.


“Over the next several decades, the Moka Express had emancipatory significance for women: it gave them easy access to coffee for the first time, and in the 1950s, the modest design icon’s marketing also challenged traditional gender roles in the home. Drinking coffee was never so radical.”

“Renato’s advertising, on the other hand, transported the coffee shop to the home in a way that was distinctly egalitarian and modern. Campaigns featured women drinking espresso around a table, conversing with men in suits. These images transferred espresso to a domestic space along with the intellectual debate and conversation that came with coffee culture. Many ads presented women preparing espresso themselves, or even more subversively, others depicted men in the kitchen using the appliance—a bold reversal of conventional gender roles. One billboard featured a young boy asking, “Where’s Daddy?” The mother responds, He’s in the kitchen with the Moka Express.

“Women’s ingenuity is a crucial part of the design story of the Moka Express. Its invention rendered coffee drinking no longer a predominately male practice for Italians, and the product’s marketing became intertwined with shifting gender politics.”


The Random Something 006

The Random Something 006

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