Vorwerk Kobold, 75 Years Old

24 April 2013

In 1929 the gramophones produced by the Vorwerk company were disappearing from the market, ousted by the radio. The engineer Engelbert Gorissen hit on the idea of adapting the motor of a Vorwerk gramophone for use in a vacuum cleaner that would be different from the large and cumbersome devices on sale at the time. Gorissen’s secretary, amazed by its lightness and convenience, exclaimed: “But this is a sprite [Kobold]!” Whence the name. Nine years later, on April 9, 1938, the German Vorwerk & Co. set up its first sales organization in Italy, where it has operated successfully for 75 years, remaining faithful to its original mission: selling vacuum cleaners and other household appliances through a widespread network of agents selling door-to-door. The Kobold, or Folletto as it is called in Italy, is not on sale in stores or even online. Even in the digital age, the company relies on a direct relationship between agent and customer: there is no catalogue, but a person who comes round to explain everything you need to know. Congratulations and Happy birthday!

Folletto Produzione
Folletto vintage
Folletto Vintage
Folletto vintage
Folletto Poster Vintage

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Roberta Mutti

She sits astride Italy, Belgium and Southeast Asia, and sometimes falls off. When asked what she does, she replies: I do things, see people. She has been writing about furniture for twenty years and is still not tired of it, in spite of everything. She has no free time, and is not even interested in it. For her it’s enough not to have to go to the same office everyday. She mixes with unlikely people, and contributes to Klat for this very reason.

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