Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Made In Canada By Italian Hands And Parts

When I was a young teenager, I bought my first serious bike. It was a black and Peugeot with gold trimmings back when they were still made in France.

(The elegant Gardin left)

A few years later in 1990, I took the money I saved up $1,200 making thermal windows and upgraded to a Gardin road bike. Gardin was a Canadian bike manufacturer in Ontario (I believe) founded by an Italian immigrant. It's no longer in operation.

Some elements and parts included: Vittoria tires, Mavic rims, Columbus frame, gear system Shimano 105. A Canadian-Italian bike with Italian, Japanese, German and French parts.

Needs a nice cleaning since I haven't used it in a couple of years but still a fine bicycle.

In between, I got my hands on a Specialized mountain bike for $500. A friend of mine knew a guy liquidating them and mine had an original price tag of $1000. Lucky deal.

This year, after a couple of years of talking about getting a new bike, I went out and got another Canadian bike manufactured this time in my hometown by another Italian owner. Marinoni bikes are known for its high, tailored quality.

Seeing I no longer have the time (or energy) to ride like I used to I had to keep my purchase modest. One can easily get swayed by that Italian made bike with a starting price of $3000. A friend of mine did just that and ended up with a $5000 road bike.

At first, I wasn't sure what type of bike I wanted. I was leaning towards a "touring bike" since I didn't think I was going to be racing. Right there, a steel framed bike was in the cards over an aluminum or  carbon one.

I settled on the Sportivo touring model at a reasonable price. All told about $2000.

Marinoni Sportivo parts include: Campagnolo (ultegra) gears, Columbus steel frame, Deda elementi handles, Selle Italia seat, Cadence tires, Khamsin (Campagnolo) rims.

This baby is essentially an Italian-Canadian bike with predominantly Italian and American parts.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

1930s Decade Of Achievements

Fascism aside, the 1930s was actually a successful decade for Italy in terms of achievement.

For instance, Fermi and Pirandello winning a Nobel in their respective fields, the arrival of Cinecitta, Marconi's inventions in radio, Olivetti, and of course, who can forget the ferocious Prima Carnera in boxing a sport more popular than soccer at the time. Speaking of which, Italy won back to back World Cups in 1934 and 1938 under the direction of Vittorio Pozzo the first country to do so only matched by the magnificent Brazilians in 1958 and 1962.

Two other breakthroughs took place during the decade. One was the oceanliner SS Rex (from wiki):

"..The Rex operated transatlantic crossings from Italy with its running mate, the Conte di Savoia. On 8 September 1944, off Koper, Rex was hit by 123 rockets launched by RAF aircraft, caught fire from stem to stern. She burned for four days, then rolled onto the port side, and sank in shallow water. The ship was broken up at the site beginning in 1947..."

"...In August 1933, the Rex fulfilled the promises of its designers and captured the Blue Riband on its westbound crossing with a time of four days and thirteen hours, with an average speed of 28.92 knots. This record would last until 1935 when it was captured by the French Line's Normandie..."

The other was the technological success of the seaplane Macchi MC 72 (flown by Francesco Agello  and Italo Balbo). Again from wiki:

"...The Macchi M.C. 72 was an experimental seaplane designed and built by the Italian aircraft company Macchi Aeronautica. The M.C. 72 held the world speed record for all aircraft for five years. In 1933 and 1934, it set a world record speed (by Agello) for internal combustion powered seaplanes which still stands to this day...."

Italy had been part of the innovation race since the late 1920s:

"Italy had been in the running since 1927, when Major Mario de Bernardi took the record at 297.83 mph in a Macchi M52 raising it in a M52bis to 318.64 mph in the spring of the following year. America had been out the running, as had France since 1924 although the record had been excusively French from the beginning until 1922 with the exception of a single day in August 1909 when it had belonged to Glenn Curtiss of the USA. Now, with Mussolini encouraging a foreign policy which was based in a large measure on reducing the influence of France and on emphasising the surperiority of Italy, the air around Lake Garda was filled with the scream of V-24 Fiat engines. hauling the seaplanes of the Italian High-Speed Squadron at speeds which promised to be unmatchable. Alas that same air was also loud with lamentations for the pilots who who to often perished in their proving flights. The record still stood to Britain as it had since 1929, and a few minutes after Boothman had conclusively won the Schneider Trophy Flight Lieutenant GA Stainforth had the other S6B in the air, and pushed the reccrd over the magic mark of ten kilometres a minute for the first time." (Schneider Engines link above)

Italian Machines In Indonesia

ACIMIT, the Association of Italian Textile Machinery Manufacturers, and ICE-Trade Promotion Agency have organized two symposiums in Indonesia, specifically in Solo (11 November) and Bandung (13 November), at which some of Italy’s leading textile machinery …