March 9, 2007

Atomic Single Serve Coffee for Your Kitchen


We've been obsessed lately with a coffee maker first introduced in the 1940's called the Atomic Coffee Maker. The design is stunning, with curves we thought you could only find on a modern coffee maker. We think it looks like the pre-cursor to the single serve coffee machines we all enjoy today or perhaps more like a modern espresso machine, but regardless, the Atomic Coffee Maker is stunning. The first place we came across the Atomic Coffee maker was at a site in New Zealand. We had no idea such a stylish coffee maker could have been produced in the 1940's, but then again the future was all the rage in the 1940s and 50s.

The Atomic was reportedly designed in the UK in the 1940s, and certainly Sassoon-badged models record a 1947 British patent number on the label. The machines were however all manufactured in Italy, with Italian patents being held by Giordano Robbiati of Milan. The very earliest machines carry an Austrian patent by Stella in Vienna; these have a more "flattened" form and lack the later front plug in the water reservoir.

What's amazing is the shear amount of people collecting the Atomic Coffee Maker. There are dozens of web sites detailing the parts and other items you may need to get your Atomic up and running. Also, there were reissues in the 1950s and in 1986. Wild. This makes finding just the right part very difficult. There's a great guide on how to Buy and Sell your Atomic Parts.

Frederick Staff1
This Atomic Coffee Maker collection has over 14 different Atomic Coffee Makers

Over at there are quite a few articles on the Atomic. One of the best is taking your first baby steps with the Atomic Espresso 099. Who would have thought there are certain knobs not to use in a certain order when making a cup of Atomic coffee. They also have their Atomic 101 and 201 articles on the Atomic Coffee Maker. Also, they continue to call it the Worlds Most Beloved Coffee maker. We guess the name fits, as they are a bit in love with the Atomic.

The Atomic Manual

One of the coolest articles they have over at, is the manual for the Atomic. There's the classic 1940's little Atomic Guy who shows you the features. And there's a certain shiny black and white quality to the pictures. This is also where we found you can FROTH MILK with the Atomic. Yep. What else does this little Atomic Coffee Maker do? Can it perhaps fuel an entire space ship as well?

Over at, they have an article on how they found their first Atomic Coffee Maker.

With a little practice, you can turn out a cafe latte on your home Atomic that will often surpass the product of even your favourite barista. You might be saying at this point, hmm, big call, but if you've got an Atomic already, you'll certainly know what I mean. Besides making a great home espresso, the curvy little Atomic enjoys icon status because of its apparent rarity. Manufactured since the early forties, to basically the same design, production abruptly stopped in the late eighties.

Also, this is where we finally got how the Atomic Works - it doesn't plug in, it heats up on your stove top. WHAT??? Yep. You don't plug in the Atomic Coffee Maker - though the name implies it might be plutonium powered, it's not. Since it's made of polished aluminum, we're thinking an electric stove would melt the aluminum? Who knows, we're definitely now obsessed, and are going to be hunting down our first Atomic Coffee Maker and see what the Atomic is all about first hand.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at March 9, 2007 7:00 AM
Recent Comments

I have an Atomic, an early model, labelled as made in England 1947 (no steamer tube etc) in great condition - just had a lovely strong cup 9whuilst I mend my Gaggia "Tin Man". Any idea what it's worth?

Posted by: John at August 21, 2009 7:03 AM

Kooka la monga !
My picture keeps bouncing around. With no signs of degradation....At last count, I did say last....I have 15 of them thar things. From every phase of production. As an industrial designer I am fascinated by the design progression of most of the bits and pieces. The apex is most certainly the arrival of the first frother Atomic. The frothing wand has 4 holes and the knob is identical to the big, black, bastard knob to the rear that closes the filling hole. A book about the beloved Silver Steaming Chalice is in the works to coincide with the 60th anniversary of this wonderful coffee maker. A few corrections are needed here: Robbiati took patents in Italy, Hungary, the United States and France. There are not dozens of sites selling parts, but an entreprising chap is making some bits and pieces in Australia. I do/did provide repro jugs with original handles for those wanting one. Please readers beware of the fakes selling on Ebay, a dead give away (among other details) is the protruding plug at the bottom of the boiler. The seal should be invisible. If the vendor doesn't have the filter, that's another sign,don't go just on that though, a genuine article may also lack a filter. Toodle-dee-doo-cracker-bits.

Posted by: Frederick at May 21, 2007 8:01 AM
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