Ettore Bugatti – perfectionist and inventor – MotorsActu

Ettore Bugatti said at the time that a technical product was only perfect when it was also aesthetically perfect. This founder of society had this requirement not only for his own vehicles, but also for other everyday objects. When he was not satisfied with an item he had bought, he often improved it or made it himself immediately. A small selection of his inventions shows how inventive he was.

The henhouse

Ettore Bugatti loved pasta above all else and he always asked his Italian cook to prepare fresh ones for him. For that, he needed chicken eggs. One day Ettore Bugatti went to buy eggs, but he came back empty-handed, angry. Their price had gone up again. So he decided to raise hens himself and set up a small hen farm. He designed a chicken coop with wheels to be able to move it on his large plot. Naturally, because of this investment, eggs were now significantly more expensive than if he had bought them. But at least they were fresh and he was no longer dependent on farmers.

The machine for making pasta with a handwheel

One day, the Bugatti cook complained that the pasta machine had given up. Several weeks would pass before a new machine was delivered to Alsace. As Ettore Bugatti did not want to give up eating his own pasta that he loved so much, he designed a new machine. An easy-to-use, aesthetic machine that by far makes the best pasta. Mechanics built a machine according to his plans in his factory. Made by an automobile manufacturer, the machine quite naturally had a Bugatti Type 46 car steering wheel as a crank to transform the dough into spaghetti. Last March, the original machine was sold at auction for nearly $ 37,500 at Bonhams.

An orangery for its basil

For Ettore Bugatti, a good pasta dish cannot be imagined without a decoration of two or three basil leaves. Unable to buy his favorite basil near Molsheim, Ettore Bugatti built his own greenhouse with special ventilation and exceptional steel construction – an orangery that still exists today. In addition to the basil, Bugatti also grew fruit and other plants there.

Ettore Bugatti's cutlery

As we could understand from the anecdote of the chicken coop and the pasta machine, Ettore Bugatti was a gourmet. Thus, he was embarrassed by the fact that there were no special cutlery for the dessert of a usual menu. He therefore decided to develop for himself the perfect cutlery with his own design. Each cutlery bore the EB emblem and was perfectly ergonomic in the hand. This was followed by the order of all assorted dishes, including cutlery, plates and glasses. Famous for his extreme politeness and expecting the same behavior from his hosts, Bugatti would one day have refused to sell a car to a gentleman of royal descent, because he had bad manners at the table – he did not use a knife or a fork .

Baby Bugatti Type 52

To be a good driver, you have to start early. For the fifth anniversary of his son Roland, Ettore Bugatti designs the Type 52, a 1/2 scale miniature version of the Type 35. This vehicle called "Baby Bugatti" was driven by an electric motor and a 12-volt battery and was traveling at 20 km / h. This vehicle, which Bugatti's offspring used as a means of transport all around the mansion, was quickly appreciated by visitors, friends and customers. Many of them were won over by the Baby Bugatti and ordered a copy. Between 1927 and 1930, Ettore Bugatti produced a total of a few hundred copies of this vehicle. A huge success. Recently, The Little Car Company reissued the Bébé Bugatti.

Ettore's patents

During his lifetime, Ettore Bugatti has patented around a thousand inventions. These patents were not all directly related to the automobile, as were the aluminum rims, an unbreakable windshield, ultra-light folding seats and automatic filler caps, or even its own screws and nuts. more efficient and stronger than the others, even at high speed. Ettore Bugatti also wondered about everyday objects and patented his new ideas when they were very promising. Among these items, a cylinder-shaped hand razor, a very light bicycle frame and motorcycle frame, or even safety locks. The brilliant inventor even imagined a pitcher for fishermen. He designed, besides that, a very large number of everyday objects which have not been patented, such as gates, doors, light fixtures, armchairs, vices, surgical instruments, harnesses or shutters for windows.


In addition to his passion for technology and cars, Ettore Bugatti was especially enthusiastic about horses – although he had made them useless by building automobiles. As a thoroughbred expert, Ettore described his vehicles as he would a horse: bloody, fast or full of power and all in muscle. "The automobile thoroughbred". For Bugatti, horses were not primarily means of transport, they were above all noble animals. He bred thoroughbreds on his land in Molsheim and housed them in his North Shed and his South Shed. His love for horses went so far that he had some of the doors to his stalls replaced with special closing plates that he had designed himself so that horses could open them with a simple press of the nostrils. So he didn't have to get off the horse before entering the stalls to open them himself. He could simply enter it on horseback. Ettore Bugatti greeted visitors and customers on horseback with pleasure. Sometimes accompanied by his donkey Totosche, which he received as a gift in 1929 from Count Florio for Bugatti’s five consecutive victories in the Targa Florio race. The lucky animal frolicked freely on Ettore's grounds and was part of its private zoo. In addition to his horse breeding, Ettore Bugatti also devoted himself to the breeding of Terriers.

Ettore's five toe shoe

Long before the five-toe shoes of our time, Ettore Bugatti was already walking around with this type of shoe. It must have been around the 1920s that the racing driver Louis Charavel, often traveling under the pseudonym "Sabipa", wanted to meet Ettore Bugatti in Molsheim. This one wore a colonial helmet, a cream silk vest with a blue border and very specific shoes – like the gloves, these had a prominence for each toe. Very practical and very natural for Ettore Bugatti. "When you want gloves, you don't buy mittens. So why should it be any different for shoes? He asked his astonished visitor. Even though he didn't often wear these shoes, they were still perfectly designed – like all of his inventions.

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