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Manservisi | textile company

1854 | 1875 ca.


The Bolognese textile company, founded in 1854 and specialised in woollen and cotton/wool blend fabrics, was one of the few industrial companies until the subsequent economic development due to the birth of the Kingdom of Italy. It became one of the largest factories in the Papal States, employing up to 800 workers, at least 400 of whom were women. In the factory, "amazing" machinery was put into operation: more than 2,000 spindles, hydraulic and steam engines "with the most recent refinements", two inclined paddle wheels. Belgian technicians also worked there. In 1856 it took part in the Bologna Industrial Exhibition, the following year it was visited by Pius IX and in 1869 it took part in the city's Industrial Agricultural Exhibition. A native of Malalbergo, Filippo Manservisi (28 January 1806 - 25 September 1886) was a self-made entrepreneur: starting from scratch, he worked tenaciously to find money and partners for his business. In 1858 at the Rome Exhibition he won a gold medal for his wool drapes and in 1859 he was elected to the city council and was among the promoters of the Società Operaia (Workers' Society). In 1873, the International Anarchist Congress was clandestinely held in the Manservisi factory. His factory was forced to close after a few years: it had been damaged by a flood of the Aposa river in 1862 and had had to suspend production in 1864. After 1875, it had been flooded by the Reno Canal, according to Alfredo Testoni. The heirs continued the business only as a clothing shop, while the factory buildings were completely destroyed by fire on the night of St John's Day in 1922.

Translation by Lorenzo Rocco, 2022.