A Coffee Machine for the Dashboard: The Hertella Auto Kaffeemachine, a VW Beetle Accessory from 1959
If you are a coffee lover and a fan of classic cars, you might be interested in this quirky gadget that was designed to make your road trips more enjoyable. It’s a coffee machine that fits on the dashboard of a 1959 Volkswagen Beetle, and it can brew a hot cup of joe while you drive!
The gadget is called the Hertella-Auto Kaffeemaschine, and it was produced and marketed by a German company called Hertella in the late 1950s.
The Kaffeemaschine was a simple device that consisted of a metal container with a heating element, a filter basket, and a spout. It had no on/off switch, so it would start brewing as soon as you plugged it into the car’s cigarette lighter.
The Kaffeemaschine could hold enough water for two cups of coffee, which would be dispensed into a porcelain cup that had a metal base. The cup would attach magnetically to the Kaffeemaschine, preventing it from spilling or sliding off. The whole process would take about 15 minutes, depending on the voltage of the car.
The Hertella-Auto Kaffeemaschine was not very popular, probably because it was not very practical or safe. Mixing hot water with a moving vehicle is not the smartest idea ever, and the device could also drain the car’s battery or cause electrical problems. The Kaffeemaschine was also quite expensive, costing DM65 (Deutschmarks) at the time. To put that into perspective, a new Beetle in 1959 cost DM3790.
Today, the Hertella-Auto Kaffeemaschine is a rare and sought-after collector’s item, especially among VW enthusiasts. There are only a few examples left in existence, and they can fetch up to $500 on online auctions. If you ever come across one of these vintage coffee makers, you might want to give it a try, but only when the car is parked!