Bialetti Moka Coffee Pot

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Alfonso Bialetti (1888–1970) was a metals engineer who acquired Luigi De Ponti’s invention of the Moka Express coffee pot – an Italian classic and iconic design.

Bialetti worked in the French aluminium industry for over a decade and by 1919 he’d established his own workshop in Crusinallo (Piedmont) and later a studio for design and production.

Bialetti completed his design for the clean-lined eight-sided aluminium Moka Express in 1933. It is known affectionately in Italy as “la macchinetta” (“the little machine”) and has been manufactured largely unaltered for over 70 years.

The Moka is a percolator with coffee grains being loaded into an internal metal filter that is placed over a water reservoir and screwed tightly to the upper part of the coffee pot – a jug shape. This is then placed on a hob and heated. The hot water rises inside the pot and passes through the coffee, extracting the flavour, passing into the upper jug for serving. Care should be taken not to boil the water as according to the vulgar French expression when using the Moka – “Café bouillu, café foutu ?” (Boiled coffee is erm….ruined coffee!)

Between 1934 and 1940 70,000 units of the Moka were produced and sold at Piedmontese street markets. To date it’s believed that around 330m units of the humble Moka have been produced.

Devised as part of a massive marketing campaign by Alfonso son Renato, in the face of stiff copy-cat product competition, the Moka mascot “the Man with the Moustache” was based on a sketch of Alfonso and was developed into a logo in 1953 by Paul Campani.

Bialetti founded Bialetti Industrie S.p.A a major kitchen ware company (with revenues in 2015 in excess of €170m) and is the grandfather of Alberto Alessi founder of Alessi Design known for is slightly wackier domestic products. See the Alessi Kettle below

I was first introduced to the Bialetti Moka coffee pot in Italy in the late 1980’s bringing a four cup version back to the UK which has been used and enjoyed ever since with the occasional need to change the perishable rubber ring inside the body of the Moka.

Since quitting caffeine in the early 2000’s the quality of decaffeinated coffee has improved immensely so much so that I suspect that even the most hardened coffee drinker would be hard pushed to tell the difference – particularly when using the Moka.

Would you like to own a Bialetti Moya Coffee Pot – you can buy your own by clicking the following AMAZON link – Bialetti Moka Express Espresso Maker, 6 Cup

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Photo by Bialetti

Burberry Trench Coat

First available – c 1914-18

History: Established in 1856 by 21 year old Thomas Burberry who having completed his apprentice as a draper opened a store in Basingstoke. The first shop opened up in The Haymarket, London, in 1891 with its new trophy headquarters being built in 1913. Until 1955 Burberry was a family controlled business.

Probably Burberry most famous product is its trench coat with its highly distinctive lining. The proud recipient of Royal Warrants for the Queen and Prince Charles, Burberry was ranked 73rd in Interbrand’s influential Best Global Brands.

In 1879, Burberry introduced in his brand the gabardine a water-resistant fabric which is treated by being waterproofed before weaving. In 1901, the Burberry Equestrian Knight Logo was developed and was later registered as a trademark in 1909.

As part of the Burberry heritage their products were used in 1911 by South Pole explorer Roald Amundsen, in 1914 by Ernest Shackleton and in 1924 in an attempt to climb Mount Everest by George Mallory.

The signature Burberry trench coat was developed to meet the needs of troops in the First World War which, post War, became popular with civilians. The iconic Burberry check lining to its trench coats has been in use since at least the 1920s.

Burberry was taken over by Great Universal Stores in 1955 who in 2005 divested its remaining interest in Burberry. Burberry Group Plc was floated on the London Stock Exchange in July 2002 and Burberry first began selling online in the US followed by the UK in October 2006 and the rest of the EU in 2007.

Burberry promotes its British connection, it was reported as of July 2012 that Burberry maintains two production facilities in Yorkshire, one in Castleford producing raincoats, and one in Keithley. GQ November 2016 carried an advert featuring “The Burberry Artisans” depicting Fabric Inspector, George Edmondson, at Burberry Mill (England) holding a roll of what looks like traditional Burberry check raincoat lining material.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s http://www.goop.com cites the role played by CEO Christopher Bailey, – who continued the legacy of former CEO Angela Ahrendts – to bring Burberry’s into the 21st century “without sacrificing an ounce of integrity, this quintessential British brand is still going strong. Everything from the classics—the iconic trench,…. to the cool, of-the-moment designs that run the gamut from artful, watercolor prints to studded-leather everything, is quality through and through.”

 My Burberry Trench Coat: I bought a raglan sleeve Burberry trench coat in 1992 – or  nearly 20 years ago. An absolute favourite never too warm or too cold perfect for spring and autumn. The quality of the sticking has survived at least two reproofing’s the original at the old Haymarket store.

I have a picture taken outside the office of our old law practice in Mayfair of me and a former and much admired colleague on our way to an In and Out (on Piccadilly) military dinner in black tie looking for the world like a couple of yuppies – and man did we play that part so well….

Your Burberry Trench Coat?:

Hunter Green Wellington Boots

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Launched: Green Wellington 1955

History: Hunter Boot Ltd. is the maker of fine rubber wellington boots.

Established in January 1856 as Norris & Co. (later to become the North British Rubber Company Ltd in September 1857) by Henry Lee Norris (from New Jersey) and Spener Thomas Parmelee (of New Haven) who arrived in Glasgow to work on a Charles Goodyear patent to manufacture rubber overshoes and boots. The company is now headquartered in Edinburgh

A true British heritage brand, Hunter is a Royal Warrant holder “as suppliers of waterproof footwear” to both the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh.

Norris succeeded at the company by William Erskine Bartlett who sold his “Bartlett” patent to British Dunlop for just under $1m to acquire the rights to manufacture and distribute rubber tyres that were substantially similar to those used today.

 World War I saw a dramatic boost in wellington boot production as a result of an order from the War Office to construct a sturdy boot suitable for the conditions in flooded trenches, over 1.1m pairs were made. Likewise, in World War II 80% of production was for war materials, with the boots becoming a firm favourite with the services and civilians alike.

After WWII, boot making moved to a larger factory in Heathhall, Dumfries and in the winter of 1955 the famous Original Tall Green wellington was launched., was made over 50 years ago in the winter of 1955.

In 1966, North British Rubber was bought by car tyre manufacturer, Uniroyal who in turn sold to Gate Rubber Company in 1986 which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Tomkins Plc in 1996 who sold on their interest in 1999 to Interfloor – an underlay manufacturer. In 2004, a management-led investor group acquired the Hunter Boots business of Interfloor Group Ltd for £1.98m becoming the independent Hunter Rubber Company. There followed announcements that to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Green Wellington seven different coloured boots would be launched.

In 2006, the Hunter Rubber Company was placed into administration being purchased by a private consortium funded by the Pentland Group Ltd re-launching as Hunter Boot Ltd with a substantial re-structuring of the business saw itself re-established as a major player in the traditional country and leisure footwear markets with summer 2007 seeing an 85% sales increase against the same period in 2006.

High manufacturing and fuel costs caused the business to move production overseas to China and Indonesia – some feel that this had an impact on quality. The likes of Gwyneth Paltrow style guide site www.goop.com doesn’t agree calling Hunter’s and associated rainwear “impeccable, long-lasting quality that result in the kinds of enduring must-haves that become hand-me-downs”.

My Green Hunter Wellingtons: As a kid I remember the chunkiness and smell of our wellingtons they were always a little too tall scratching the backs of our knees but no Sunday ramble, Bonfire Night or Autumn garden clear-up was complete without our trust Wellys.

As an adult, my pair of Hunters bought in the mid 1980’s were a constant site at the banks of a fishing river, a Point to Point and on country walks. That pair unfortunately rotted in an outside shed some years ago – the peril of mistreating real rubber – but as the impact of years of cycling took hold of my calves I was delighted to try on, at Hunter’s Regent Street showroom, a pair with a very comfortable and expandable calf section!

Your Hunter Wellingtons?: Sharing your experiences of this wonderful British brand couldn’t be easier either complete the “Leave a Reply” section below or Reblog this post but we’d really like to hear your tales of the joys of owning a pair of classic Hunter Wellington Boots.

 

Image by Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chanel Egoiste

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First Launched 1990

Designer: Perfumer Jacques Polge

Égoïste is a men’s perfume produced by French fashion house Chanel. Originally launched as a limited edition scent named “Bois Noir”‘ in 1987, the fragrance was eventually re-launched to the general market under the name Égoïste 1990. The perfume release was supported by famous commercial directed by Jean Paul Goude.

Égoïste was created by renowned French Perfumer, Jacques Polge, who was Head Parfumer at Chanel between 1978 to 2015.

M Polge admitted in 2010 that Égoïste was his favourite creation.

M Polge described the genesis of the wonderful fragrance: “What happened was, I found an old formula by Ernest Beaux [creator of N°5] of a women’s fragrance called Bois des Iles, which is exclusively sold in Chanel stores. There was a high content of sandalwood in it. We were used to such scents as fougères in men’s fragrances, but sandalwood had never been used as the main note in a male perfume. Egoïste is built around that. There is also some ambrette seed in it.”

Egoiste means selfish or self-centered in French.

Chanel S.A. (founded in 1909) is a French privately held company owned by Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, the grandsons of Pierre Wertheimer an early business partner of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (also known as “Coco Chanel”).

My Chanel Egoiste: Like M Polge Egoiste has been my favourite fragrance for over twenty years. Its always wonderfully fresh and never ages. Love it!

Your Chanel Egoiste?:

Image courtesy of Chanel

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Porsche 911 Targa

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The Porsche Targa has the distinct characteristic of being is a semi-convertible car body style with a removable roof section and a full width roll bar behind the seats. The term was first used on the 1966 with the launch of the classic Porsche 911 Targa and the name, “Targa”, remains a registered trademark of Porsche AG.

The Porsche 911 coupe first debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1963. Designed by Ferry Porsche, the son of the Porsche founder and his cousin, Ferdinand Piech, who developed the air-cooled flat-six engine. Launched as the 901, an objection from Peugeot who claimed naming rights to any three digit configuration with a zero in the middle resulted in Porsche renaming their new car the “911”.

Ferry on the launch of the Targa in 1965 described the car thus – “The Targa is neither a coupe nor a convertible”.

It is said that Porsche got the name, “Targa”, from the Targa Florino, a famous Sicilian road race. In Italian and Castellano, the word “Targa” means “number-plate”.

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The Targa style roof opening became popular in the 1960s and 1970s, resulting from fears that the US Department of Transportation (DOT) may ban convertibles because of safety concerns for the occupants should a car overturn.

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Over the years Porsche designs have varied. In 1996 the Porsche 993 Targa featured a retractable glass roof a design that continued into the 996 and 997 models. The glass roof retracted underneath the rear window revealing a large sky-facing opening. For me, in the earlier models of this style this gives the windscreen an almost too high pitch that affects the overall aesthetics of the car.

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The car received criticism as it was descriebed as a “coupe with a gigantic sun roof” – simply not what Porsche had intended and perhaps too far away from the core of this iconic car?

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With the introduction and production of more recent 911 Targa, including the Type 991, Porsche decided to take the latest Targa in a different direction from that of the previous water-cooled Type 996/997 cars.

Is 2014 car has somewhat returned to its earliest Targa roots by the utilizing of a solid roof panel spanning over the front seats which was mechanized for automated lift-away and storage under the rear glass roof, which itself is mechanized to lift up and out of the way as the roof panel is placed into its stowed position.

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Porsche seem to have decided that life should imitate art having produced a Targa that seems to take some design cues from a rather sophisticated toy from the late 1970’s. When I worked in the Christmas Holidays between University terms, I got myself a job at the now defunct Army & Navy Stores – a department store in Guilford (Surrey UK) in their Toy Department. I worked for a company called Bandai who were the licensees in the UK of the Transformer toy series. Those of you with either long memories or younger kids will know that Transformers were an amazing toy that “transformed” from a car to a Robot – for example – and subsequently has become a very successful film franchise. The range of car Transformers that I was selling – and I did hugely well outselling all other assistants – included a Porsche 911 in grey that transformed into a robot with green eyes. I still have one.

In August 2016 – the 50th Anniversary of its first Targa – Porsche announced an “Etna” blue Porsche Exclusive of the 911 Targa 4S Exclusive Design Edition – a collector’s edition!

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The 2018 version is here – quite possibly one of the most beautiful modern era Porsche Targas made.

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STOP PRESS

Our friends from Class Driver have recently posted the most remarkable film made by the Porsche Club of America about a secretive collection of over 65 Porsche cars dating from the late 1950’s to date each car being not only in pristine condition but all are uniquely painted white.

Enjoy the film here White Porsche Collection 

I defy any Porsche fan can control their passion for these fantastic vehicles – even a beautiful die-cast model should satiate some of the “must have one” moment. I have found the perfect two die-cast models – please click the Amazon link below the image in each case:

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Schuco 450035400 1:18 Scale Porsche 911 S Targa – 1972″ Model Car

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Porsche 911 (991) Targa 4S Metallic Blue 1: 18

You will need a range of various mechanical skills to maintain your 911 – built between 1965 -1989 – but you’ll also need a Haynes Manual – please click the Amazon link below the image

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Porsche 911, 1965-89 Coupe, Targa and Cabriolet Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive Repair Manuals)

The role of a Porsche in our lives cannot be understated. So celebrate your passion with this colourful T shirt – please click on the Amazon link below the image

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Dressdown Box 964 T 12 Colour Grid – Mens T-Shirt – White – XL

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image Credit – Porsche AG and the Porsche Club of America with grateful thanks.

Beats Solo 3 Wireless Headphones (Beats by Dr Dre)

First Launched: Re-mastered in 2016

History: Beats by Dr. Dre was founded in 2006 by music producer and rapper Andre Young (“Dr Dre”) and record producer and music business executive Jimmy Iovine as a direct response the poor audio quality provided by Apple’s plastic earbuds.

The Beats brand has relied heavily on celebrity association and endorsement but the build quality is good and the sound quality is comparable to other high-end audio products.

Beats’ original product line of headphones was manufactured in partnership with the AV equipment company Monster Cable Products but later all development work was taken in house. In 2014, the company expanded into the online music market with the launch the subscription-based streaming service Beats Music.

In 2012 it was reported that Beats’ market share was 64% in the U.S for headphones priced higher than $100, giving the brand a value of US$1 billion in September 2013.

For a period, the company’s majority shareholder was phone maker HTC, but the company reduced its stake to 25% in 2012 and sold its remaining stake back to the company in 2013; concurrently Carlyle Group replaced HTC as a minority shareholder, alongside Dr. Dre and Iovine, in late 2013.

On August 1, 2014, Apple Inc acquired Beats for US$3 billion in a cash and stock deal, the largest acquisition in Apple’s history.

Photo by Beat by Dr Dre

 

Bose Soundlink Mini 2

First Launched: 2013

History: Bose Corporation is a US corporation based in Framingham (Massachusetts) and was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G Bose (who died in July 2013). It’s understood that Bose received revenue for 2015 of US$3.5 billion.

 Bose is perhaps best known for its home audio systems and speakers, noise cancelling headphones, professional audio systems and automobile sound systems.

The SoundLink Mini is a smaller and lighter version of the SoundLink Mobile and was introduced in 2013 at a US recommended price of $200. It weighs just 0.7 kg and includes a charging cradle as well as a power socket.

The case is made of sandblasted aluminium. Reviewers and users have praised the excellent sound and build quality. SoundLink Mini uses Bluetooth to play audio from cell phones and other portable devices.

A majority of Bose Corporation’s shares were gifted by Dr. Bose in 2013 to his alma mater MIT who are prohibited from selling their shares in Bose and are unable to participate in the management and governance of the company.

Photo by Bose