Microcimbali restoration

Vintage domestic lever machine

This was a good example of the sort of horrible condition that many vintage domestic machines imported from Italy are in. Plentiful rust, corrosion, scale, damaged chrome, perished insulation, seals, etc etc. Beware the optimistic eBay description! However, the appeal of these vintage lever machines is justified – once restored, they really are functioning design icons of a bygone era.

Luckily, the most important parts of the machine were fixable. The worst case scenario is that the element filament or insulation is damaged, meaning a costly one-off custom element has to be made. Luckily this was not the case and repairing the element just involved re-sealing the terminals with high-temperature insulation compound.


Further work included:

  • Repairing hole in cast aluminium boiler by drilling out and plugging internally with new material
  • Drilling out and re-threading damaged mounting points on boiler casting
  • Re-wiring with modern silicone insulated cable
  • Replacing all perished seals with OEM or custom made versions
  • Polishing exterior surfaces and fittings

These old lever machines fascinate me, and I love working on them. They are always a challenge, but there’s nothing more satisfying than getting a perfect shot out of a machine you’ve restored, and it’s now an asset the new owner will enjoy for many years to come.