A great workshop
A great workshop
03/10/2016

“Long live Pellizzari” is the simple and irrepressible greeting with which the workers welcomed  Giacomo and Antonio Pellizzari on 14 October 1951, the company’s 50th birthday.

This was the start of a period of great development and radical changes in the company. In the 1950s Pellizzari & Figli (Pellizzari & Sons) workshops became a modernised and innovative firm consisting of 25 thousand square metres of space, which included a new building. The building held up to 2,800 workers as well as other technical and administrative staff.

In just a few decades this small artisanal company already had seven production sites in Vicenza and two in South America, a rich and well-structured trade and a well-established and solid brand in world markets, with trade in China, Egypt and Manchuria.
Antonio Pellizzari joined his father in the management of the business. He had received training in history, culture and music as well as politics. This included Gramsci and his ideology on the 'organic' intellectual, and Croce with his civic humanism, both united in the belief that art and philosophy guide life. It also covered functionalism and architecture, the experiences of Walter Gropius and Bauhaus, art and crafts. Antonio was a friend of Adriano Olivetti, from whom he acquired a brilliant insight into the role of business. 

 

1930 Giacomo Pellizzari is awarded an Order of Merit of the Italian Republic. Other recognitions, such as Officer, and later Commander of the Order of the Italian Republic, were to be awarded to him in the years to come.

1934 He establishes the Pellizzari football team, as well as the Pedezzi Cup championships (1), which was played by the teams of the Vicenza based company. He creates a folk group and other recreational and cultural institutions, such as the working men's club, the motor club, the bowling green and some seaside settlements (2). Giacomo builds Villa Campanella (3), a recreational area for the Pellizzari family, and also a meeting place for the staff and their families.  

1935 Pellizzari takes part in the administration of the Rossi Technical Institute in Vicenza, becoming its President for several years from 1938.

1939 He creates Lonigo’s (4) vocational school for the training of craftsmen.

 

 

1940 Pellizzari is awarded the 'Cavaliere del Lavoro', an Italian decoration given to important figures in industry. He becomes President of the industrial union of Vicenza and National Director for the Industrial Federation for the province of Vicenza.  When war breaks out, many workers are forced to fight, so the company takes on numerous women and young workers. Before the war Pellizzari had started up 'Elettra' (later the Pellizzari accumulator factory of Montecchio Maggiore, which produced stationary, starter or traction accumulators, traction-powered electric vehicles and accumulators) and 'Industrie Meccaniche' of Lonigo (for the production of precision drills, with a training school for mechanics).

1944 Vicenza is not spared the actions of the Fascist regime. On March 30, following a workers strike, four workers from the 'Castelli di Montecchio Maggiore' workshop are shot in an exemplary manner. Even today Arzignano observes a silence in memory of four martyrs, after whom certain streets of the town have been named.

1945 The workshops are becoming a company. Giacomo Pellizzari creates a limited company of which he is the major shareholder, and changes the company name (5). There is a total of 15,000 shares of 1,000 Italian Lira each, making a total worth of 15 million Italian Lira. Following this change the factories of Vicenza, Lonigo and Montebello in Arzignano are incorporated. There begins the production of mercury-vapour rectifiers in metal casing, along with testing areas, with advice from Dr Walter Dallenbach of Zurich. The company improves its sales network, opening two branches, Pellizzari Argentina and Pellizzari Brazil in Buenos Aires and San Paolo (6), while consolidating exports to Yugoslavia, Turkey, Egypt, India and other countries.

1947 These are the recession years for electrical energy. Pellizzari is able to provide 2,000 alternators, taking on rapid orders for its key Italian client, Montedison. At just 24 years of age, Antonio is appointed as Corporate Vice President. A rich and contemporary cultural program, with concert and theatre performances, begins in Vicenza.

1949 Two sets of centrifugal electrical pumps, with a total capacity of 28-50 thousand litres for 1’, with 48m and 17m discharge heads, are supplied to the Indian government for the aqueduct in New Delhi. Also, for the drainage of Savellone Retratto in Padova, two propeller pumps are installed, each with a capacity of 500 thousand litres for 1’ and with 5m discharge heads.

1950 The company designs one of the largest and best equipped testing rooms for pump testing (7).  Here the hydraulic jump system, the Venturi channels, and pumps with a flow rate of 10 thousand litres per second for any discharge head could be tested. The Music Conservatory for the workers and the company choir is also created, with Antonio as the conductor, and also for occasional concerts at Vicenza's Teatro Olimpico or during visits abroad. There is a singing school with 150 students, a permanent chorus and a 35-piece orchestra.

 

 

1951 The Pellizzari company’s 50th anniversary and it is very much an eventful year. New technologies are developed for irrigation and sprinkler systems (8). At the 2nd National Congress of Advertising in Genoa, 12 advertising billboards are awarded in the business market sectors.  These are designed by Antonio Pellizzari, who is invited to exhibit his graphics work at Ca' Foscari University on 4th March. In autumn of this year 36 pumps (with a capacity of 890 thousand litres total flow rate per minute) are supplied for the large flood in Polesine. Many evacuees are housed in Arzignano.

1952 The first newsletter for the school in Arzignano is published. The Arzignano School, with an adjoining music annex named after Vivaldi, is established. The school has a library with almost 6 thousand volumes, in which conferences and film screenings, along with the magazine ‘Cinema Nuovo’ are organised. Music is the most flourishing unit, with 120 students, and led by Professor Pedrollo.

1953 A new Library, curated by Bedeschi, the company secretary, is founded in the annexed workshop area. The new football pitch for the company team is also ready for use.
At the proposal of the Senate of the University of Padova (9) the Ministry of Education gives Giacomo Pellizzari an honorary degree in Electrical Engineering in recognition of Italy’s technological development and rise in electromechanical production. Another flood, on the Dutch and English coasts, sees the involvement of the workshop staff (10). For this assistance the company receives the highest honour; a medal of the Order of Orange-Nassau, from Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.

1954 The 18th November is a day celebrated with much pride for the millionth engine produced in Arzignano (11).

1955 Antonio Pellizzari is the head of a flourishing company (12), a conductor and a sponsor for a school for workers of national interest. Later he is to lead the workshop’s activity due to his father's health conditions. On the night of 24 December Giacomo Pellizzari passes away. 
Renovation work for a functional and efficient reorganisation begins immediately, with the establishment of a new sector of industrial electronics, which achieves excellent results straight away.

1956 Under Antonio's supervision a powerful pump, tested at Cogollo del Cengio in Vicenza, is installed on the River Nile in Egypt (13). The company experiences a moment of glory, with 2,736 recruits and a plant site of 120,558 square meters, of which half the area is covered.

 

 

1957 Much advanced machinery, which requires increased automation, is produced for the textiles industry, specifically for the Vicenza companies, Lanerossi in Schio and Marzotto in Valdagno.

1958 During an intense and frenzied period of business management, Antonio is struck down by an illness, prematurely leaving the company at only 35 years of age.