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Benfenati | metal cans

1856 | 1900 ca.


Hired at the age of 15 in the workshop of the haberdasher Gentili, Filippo Benfenati (1834 - 1900) had married Gentili's daughter, setting up a company in his name in 1856, and in 1864 began manufacturing haberdashery items in a new workshop. Due to disagreements with the partners, in 1873, he had left the company for a few years, during which he opened his own workshop for machining brass, and began producing boxes aimed at containing meat for the army in another establishment in 1876. Having regained control of Filippo Benfenati e C. in 1882, he had brought together the activities of the two factories, reorganised and expanded them, increasing the range of haberdashery products, buttons, handkerchiefs and ribbons, with buttons, stars and badges for military personnel, making boxes of all kinds, mess tins, galvanised buckets. In 1889, a third workshop was acquired where pen holders were produced. Filippo Benfenati is also credited with the patent for a “Machine for the external immersion welding of metal cans for preserved food”, issued to him in 1890, proof of the good technical level reached by his preserved food production for the army. By 1899, the manufacture of ribbons and passementeries had been united with that of pen holders in a single factory using the same motive power, 2 steam engines and 4 hydraulic engines, and a workforce of 114, with 40 looms, for the textile activity and 22 for the metal products.

Antonio Campigotto

Text taken from 'La Ruota e l'Incudine la memoria dell'Industria Meccanica Bolognese in Certosa', Minerva, 2016. Translation by Lorenzo Rocco, 2022.