No announcement yet.

Inherited Atomic

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Inherited Atomic

    Hi guys,

    About a year ago I inherited what appears to be an old atomic espresso machine (along with other items). Not really knowing anything about it, it got stored away, that was until a few days ago. I happened to be looking online for espresso machines when I came across an Atomic for sale (for quite a sum), immediately I recognised it and went and retrieved it.

    After a few hours browsing online I noticed there was quite a following for these old machines, all of which looked a lot more beautiful than this old tarnished example.

    I am unsure if this is a genuine example or not, and would really appreciate if anyone here could help identify if this is in fact a genuine Atomic, and also roughly a year of manufacture as there seems to be no codes or serial number. The holes in the filters do have a star pattern, and two brass screws hold in the top filter.

    Now if it turns out to be genuine, some of you may or may not agree with my decision to lightly hand polish it. I really just wanted to bring back some shine to show of its true beauty (genuine or not). I have not touched the badge or cleaned the black valve, this is exactly how it has sat unused for at least 7 years to my knowledge.

    I have rinsed it out quite a few times and as of last night brewed my first coffee with it, and it all seems to be in perfect working order.

    The instruction book that came with the machine is quite vague so if anyone knows any guides or tricks to get the most out of this machine, if they could let me know that would be great.

    Below are a few photos of the Atomic both before and after I have polished it.


  • #2
    Re: Inherited Atomic

    Great inheritance
    The best man to speak to on all things Atomic is sponsor Sorrentina Coffee

    I think you did the right thing to polish it



    • #3
      Re: Inherited Atomic

      Welcome to CoffeeSnobs myatomic.

      You have done a great job of cleaning it up and as sugested, Jack is the guru around these parts for all things Atomic.

      There are also quite a few Atomic threads on CS including (a whacky but interesting) collectors thread and a couple on restoration and part replacement.

      A quick search up the top will yeild plenty of good reading


      • #4
        Re: Inherited Atomic

        Hello there,

        the machine is perfectly genuine. It is not possible to give an exact date- but it could be between around 1960 and 1970. At a guess 1965. The label on your machine is probably the most sought after label by collectors. The lettering forms the outline of a mushroom cloud- and is very simple and attractive. Be careful when you wash the machine as the labels are quite fragile and can scratch easily especially if they are old.

        Nice job on the polishing- what did you use? Autosol is good for a final finish.

        The best tip I can give you is:

        Use hot water at the start- and use the jug to fill the atomic. Only fill the jug around half full or a little less. Also dont tamp- just knock the basket on the bench so the grinds settle. Add some more coffee- knock again and then level with a spoon or tamper.

        Use a moderate heat- and never let the flame creep up the sides of the machine too high (it will scorch the bakelite handle on the jug.

        Oh- and grind your own coffee- grind fine but not quite as fine as for an espresso machine.

        another good idea is to get a modern stainless steel filter with smaller holes. You will get some crema with these baskets if you use good beans, freshly ground. You can get one from me  8-)- also a new head seal and a new black knob may be a good idea:


        BTW- as far as fake Atomics go- some people call my La Sorrentina machines fake... but they are not >- they are reproductions 8-).

        The only true fake were the Indian made Atomics: they say made in Italy on the label and this is the fakery.

        They are quite easy to identify as they are roughly made, the bakelite parts are fat looking and the boiler plug sticks out in an ugly fashion. I recently got one for my collection:


        • #5
          Re: Inherited Atomic

          Actually I just noticed something: your machine has the smaller bakelite part on the group handle. This may help to date the machine as an early 60s model. This handle seems to have been phased out by 1965- most Italian Atomics imported to Australia have the larger handle. Machines with your small handle are even rarer- plus best badge-plus you have the instruction manual = Perfect for a collector. Atomic rarity level 5 out of 10? 6 out of ten if you have all three original baskets (large, small and blank).

          I also noticed a split in the bakelite on the black water knob. If you intend to use the machine you should get a replacement.


          • #6
            Re: Inherited Atomic

            Hi all,

            Fantastic, roughly a 1960s model! Thanks very much for all the information and helpful tips. Im sure it will take me a while to master the art of the Atomic.

            I currently use a burr grinder with fresh quality beans, so if the coffee doesnt taste good, it will definitely be my fault

            Autosol was used to polish the Atomic with a microfibre cloth, just to give the machine a light polish to so it still showed its age.

            I definitely plan on putting this machine to good use, so I will be sure to purchase a new black water knob off you shortly SorrentinaCoffee.

            Thanks again for all your help guys, much appreciated.


            • #7
              Originally posted by sorrentina View Post
              Oh- and grind your own coffee- grind fine but not quite as fine as for an espresso machine.
              I just tried that on an Atomic I'm using for the first time. It's a Sassoon model B without steam arm. Pretty close to choked the machine. I'm going to grind as if for a Caravel and will hope that works. My daily driver espresso machine is a 1968 La Pavoni Europiccola modded with the new heating element and a pressurestat.


              • #8
                The Caravel grind still chokes the machine. For anyone with a Caravel, the grind on an Atomic is a good deal coarser.