The story began in 1912, when Giuseppe Cimbali opened a copper-working shop (Cimbali Giuseppe – copper plumbing and general repairs) in the heart of Milan, in Via Caminadella 6. The owner and his two employees worked in a space of just 30 square metres. In the early ’30s, the business moved to Via Savona and expanded thanks to the arrival of a customer – S.I.T.I. – specialised in the production of espresso coffee machines. This was the beginning of Ditta Giuseppe Cimbali. In 1945, in the Via Lecchi plant set up just a few years earlier, the first Albadoro machine was produced; it had two vertical boilers with horizontal groups, to handle the growing consumption of coffee.
The most significant technological leap came in 1950 though, when also Cimbali (by then known as “La Cimbali”) adopted the lever technology that produced an espresso with crema (a creamy foam on top). The success of the product was undeniable: in the wake of the economic boom, the espresso with crema conquered the Italian market and began looking abroad.
Lever technology may have been revolutionary; it was also hard and risky though. That’s why Cimbali launched its Granluce model in 1955 – the first machine fitted with a hydraulic system to overcome the drawbacks of the lever without sacrificing anything in terms of product quality.
The collaboration with the Castiglioni brothers in 1962 led to the creation of the Pitagora model, which won the Compasso d’Oro award in that same year.
The next three decades saw Cimbali striving to conquer the international market and facing a series of technological challenges. In the mid ’90s, the company acquired its long-standing rival FAEMA, creating Gruppo Cimbali that now includes the tradenames Casadio and Hemerson as well.
Espresso coffee machines have never stopped evolving. Even today, they still follow that technological, industrial and cultural progress that Gruppo Cimbali wanted to mark with the opening in 2012 (to coincide with the firm’s 100-year anniversary) of MUMAC, the Museum of the Coffee-Making Machine. The ideal occasion for drawing together the threads of a long path, now visible in a real exhibition made up of machines that are true milestones in the story of Italian industry: at MUMAC there are also other big names from this field, from Faema (now part of the Group) to Gaggia and Rancilio, not forgetting the historical firms La Pavoni and Victoria Arduino. MUMAC unites the Maltoni and Cimbali collections, producing the world’s biggest display of professional espresso coffee machines.