1927-1931 – the revolution of Motogelateria Cattabriga

The inventor, the patent and the Cattabriga batch freezer

Between the 20s and 30s of the Twentieth century, Otello Cattabriga, mechanical from Bologna, built the prototype of a motogelatiera which, on February 3, 1931, he patented as “automatic machine for gelato”. The Motogelatiera reproduced perfectly the laborious manual operation that gelato makers had been performing forever: “detach and spread” (detach the mixture from the edges of the sorbet maker, from up to down, spread – by rotating the sorbet maker – the liquid mixture on the refrigerated edges and, again, detach the frozen mixture). This simple movement allowed the mixture to incorporate air, something that makes the difference between a statically frozen mixture and whipped gelato. The incorporation of air is responsible for the “weaving”, for the creamy and full texture that is typical of artisanal Italian gelato. In 1934, Cattabriga improved his Motogelatiera by applying an electric motor on top of the center column: it was a resounding success: it was the first, huge revolution in the laboratory of artisanal gelato.