It was 1972, and America was ready for a caffeine revolution.
For years, we’d been drinking coffee the same way we had since the early 1800s: from a percolator, which worked by repeatedly forcing boiling water through a chamber full of grounds. The process was slow, and sometimes resulted in a bitter, burnt-tasting brew, but it was preferable to the only alternative — the bland, granular swill that was instant coffee.
But Vincent Marotta Sr., a real estate developer with some time on his hands and a yen for a decent cup of joe, changed all that.
With the help of his business partner and two engineers, Marotta designed Mr. Coffee, the world’s first electric drip coffee maker. Then he used his salesman’s combination of hard work and chutzpah to accomplished a second unlikely feat: He talked Joe DiMaggio, baseball Hall of Famer and coffee-abstainer, into being the appliance’s spokesman.
Bless you, Mr. Marotta, for vastly improving my life, and the lives of so many others.