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2002/9/1 Coffee machine, espresso, metal / plastic / rubber, made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd, Revesby, New South Wales, Australia, 1967-1969. Click to enlarge.

Coffee machine, espresso, metal / plastic / rubber, made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd, Revesby, New South Wales, Australia, 1967-1969

Made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd in Revesby, New South Wales, 1967-1969.
Since World War Two, espresso coffee has become a feature of Australia's urban culture. Its popularity is indicative of broader changes in Australian culture that have seen Anglo-centric practices give way to influences from Europe. Post war immigrants brought with them many new influences, including a taste for espresso coffee.

While Australians had been drinking brewed coffee for decades at street stalls and coffee palaces, the large scale importation of espresso machines in the 1950s was part of an international transformation of coffee culture that followed Achille Gaggia's invention of the modern espresso machine in 1947. Gaggia greatly improved earlier espresso machines with the addition of a spring lever pump.

In the 1950s and 1960s coffee lounges and cafes came to epitomise a new modern European-influenced culture. Their interiors reflected the latest design trends. As a prominent and essential part of the cafe, espresso machines were also highly designed. Chromed finishes with futuristic rounded edges in the 1950s gave way to more functional, streamlined and harder lines in the 1960s.

The first Gaggia was commercially imported by HC Bancroft and Co. in Melbourne in 1954 to join a handful of privately imported machines. Within a short time many establishments in Melbourne and Sydney were equipped with Gaggias, Faemas, La Pavonis and other models.

Bo-Ema, an Australian company, was established to capitalise on the espresso revolution. The name was a combination of the company's founders, Bordignon and Emer. They produced their first machine in 1956 at the Emer Co terrazzo polishing machine factory in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria. While Italian machines were being manufactured under licence in Melbourne, the Bo-Emas were the first Australian machines. They were soon installed in Sydney cafes including the American Coffee Lounge at Wynyard. A Bo-Ema was used at the ultra modern Pasha nightclub restaurant in Cooma at the height of the construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme, when thousands of European workers transformed the culture of the region.

This machine is significant as an example of a technology that has transformed Australian culinary tastes and leisure patterns. In particular it is a rare example of an early Australian made and designed machine, produced by a company that successfully challenged the dominance of overseas manufacturers from the 1950s through to the 21st century.

The early machines were rounded like the contemporary Gaggia and Faema models. The maker's plate on this machine, serial number 3/336, indicates that it was manufactured at the company's new Revesby factory which opened in 1967. Its angled chromed styling is very different from the earlier models. It was one of the last models to use spring lever pump action to force the water through the coffee.


Object No.


Object Statement

Coffee machine, espresso, metal / plastic / rubber, made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd, Revesby, New South Wales, Australia, 1967-1969

Physical Description

Coffee machine, espresso, metal / plastic / rubber, made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd, Revesby, NSW, Australia, 1967-1969

A three group lever pump espresso machine. It has a sloping blue plastic visor in front of the cup shelf on top of the machine. There is a chrome plated back with three black handled levers connected to three groups through which the water is forced through the coffee filters. There is a steam outlet and valve on each side. On the centre left is a water outlet spout. A pressure gauge inscribed Bo-Ema with two valves is mounted on the centre right. There is a perforated metal spill shelf below the groups. On the front of this from left to right is a hot water outlet valve, a waste outlet, a gas connection and a water inlet valve.
The sides each have a chrome plated relief arrow head shaped motif. The front has an angled textured gold metal panel. The Bo-Ema badge is missing.
Four detachable metal feet located under base. Manufacturer's plate mounted above spill shelf lower right side.


Manufacturer's plate, above spill tray lower right side inscribed "Bo-Ema S/N 3/36 Type: Auto 76-80 Violet St Revesby"



690 mm


860 mm


580 mm



The donor was responsible for servicing Bo-Ema machines in NSW from 1957 to 1963. He recalls that the first Bo-Ema machine made used the handle from a four group Universal machine installed at a restaurant popular among newly arrived immigrants in Stanley Street, East Sydney (opposite Bill and Toni's restaurant) called the La Veneziana. The body was based on an early Gaggia or Carimali.

This machine was made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd at 76-80 Violet Street, Revesby. The company had been established at 316 Belmont St Alexandria in 1956 which was also the location of the Emer Co terazzo machine factory. The Emer Co terazzo machine factory was established at 324 Belmont St Alexandria in 1936 before moving to 316. The co-founder of Bo-Ema, Aldo Emer, was possibly the son of the founder of Emer Co. The Bo-Ema company moved to Revesby after 1966.

1967 is the earliest date that Bo-Ema is listed at the Revesby address. The manufacturer's plate on the machine lists the address as Revesby. The donor suggested that the machine was definitely made in the 1960s. He remembered that the move from the Alexandria factory was made over a period of time and that this machine may have been made earlier at that factory.



The donor received this machine as a trade-in on another expresso model, having established his own company importing La San Marco machines many years after leaving Bo-Ema. He never sold it, preferring instead to keep it for sentimental reasons.

The donor arrived in Australia from Italy in January 1952 on an assisted passage programme that required he work wherever the Australian government sent him for two years. He stayed at Bonegilla Migrant Hostel before working on hydro-electric projects in Tasmania, picking fruit, and working for the NSW railways. He was a trained fitter and turner. Before commencing with Bo-Ema he also worked with the French mining company Etudes Enterprises. He worked for Bo-Ema as a sales and service representative from 1957 to 1963.


Credit Line

Gift of Mr Giovanni Pucci, 2002

Acquisition Date

25 February 2002

Cite this Object


Coffee machine, espresso, metal / plastic / rubber, made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd, Revesby, New South Wales, Australia, 1967-1969 2020, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 31 May 2020, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Coffee machine, espresso, metal / plastic / rubber, made by Bo-Ema Coffee Machines Pty Ltd, Revesby, New South Wales, Australia, 1967-1969 |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=31 May 2020 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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