Feb. 14, 2023

Illy was born in Iosefin

Did you know that...
The story of the Timișora’s Francesco Illy, inventor of the espresso machine.

The story of one of the largest coffee brands in the world comes from a neighbourhood in Timișoara! Here is the story of the person who started in Iosefin, arrived in Trieste after World War I and invented the first modern espresso machine.

Francesco Illy or Ferencz Illy, as recorded in 19th-century scripts, was born on October 7, 1892, in the Iosefin neighbourhood of Timișoara, which at that time was part of Hungary. Ferencz was the son of a Hungarian carpenter named János and his mother, Rössler Aloisia, a German-speaking lady of German ethnicity.

In 1904, Ferencz Illy graduated from a vocational school after attending elementary school at the Piarist High School in Timișoara. The house in which the espresso machine inventor lived was located in the former Scudler or Kuttle market square, now King Ferdinand Boulevard.

Aged 22, Illy joined the Austro-Hungarian army as an officer to fight in World War I. Settled in Trieste after the war, Francesco Illy remained in Italy, where he was employed at Hausbrandt. This company, coincidentally founded in the year of Francesco's birth, was involved in the preparation and commercialization of coffee. Remaining in Trieste, Illy became Italian because Trieste's status of belonging passed from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Italy, just as Timișoara passed to the Romanian state. After the war, in the late 1920s, Francesco married Vittoria and had two children, Ernesto and Hedda. In 1933, what is now Illycaffe was founded by Francesco Illy, with Roberto Hausbrandt as his partner.

Two years later, Francesco Illy patented his coffee espresso machine. From 1935, the way coffee was prepared changed forever, with Illy replacing the compressed air system with a steam-based one. It was called "Illetta".

In 1956, after the death of Francesco Illy, the inventor born in Iosefin, the company was taken over by his son, Ernesto, who said

Dad told us a few things about grandfather, about his family, and about the adventures he went through. Only thanks to aunt Hedda could I recover many documents and largely reconstruct our history. Nevertheless, I remember that my father used to tell me that my grandfather was a visionary. During the war, he survived the terrible battle of Verdun, in which he participated as a free citizen since he was left at home before the outbreak of the conflagration

said Ernesto Illy, the president of the Illy Café concern.

Andrea and Riccardo Illy, the grandsons of Francesco Illy, now run the Illy company.


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