ROBOTTI GIOVANNI

History

The F.lli Robotti company was established in 1947 by the twins Giuseppe (1921-2018) and Giovanni (1921-1975) Robotti, with the trademark "312 AL", in use from 1948 until 1996.

The two brothers did not have a family tradition in the sector, being sons of the tramway operator Mario Robotti. They had been employed as apprentices by Zeme and Repossi (1934-1940), then by Ladislao Nagy (1941-1944) and eventually by Visconti and Baldi (1944). Giovanni had also worked as a turner in the metalworking industry as part of the war economy.

The headquarters of the company were originally in Via Vittorio Alfieri, then in Viale Benvenuto Cellini (from about 1950), and finally in Via Oddone 5 (at the time, named Via Asti) from the end of the 50s to the end of the activity in 1999.

Since the beginning F.lli Robotti specialized in the production of high quality jewellery, in French taste lines, notably brooches and rings in platinum wire and diamonds. Giuseppe, a trained gem-settler, took care of the marketing activities while Giovanni, as a goldsmith, cared mostly for the production. In 1950, there were 35-40 workers in the Viale Cellini headquarters, with a dozen of them working exclusively on platinum. In the first years there was also a mechanical goldsmith's department, later abandoned. The F.lli Robotti's craftsmen were among the most appreciated ones. In particular, from 1960 to 1980, Giuseppe Ponzone, who was born in 1900, was active there as a production manager. He was an expert in traditional handcrafts and a keen connoisseur of the perfect quality of the products, with the ability to provide the best execution of the items upon specific demands. Although he began as a shoemaker, he became goldsmith and later co-owner for a few years of the renowned firm Camurati e Ubertone, which was a forge of many excellent craftsmen. Production at F.lli Robotti was characterized by entirely handmade items until the '70s, when the use of lost-wax techniques with rubber moulds was progressively implemented. Over time the company gradually reduced the number of employees, relying also on a couple of external companies to integrate its offer.

Noteworthy is the production of the "Toboga" ring, dating back to around 1960, in perforated platinum and hexagonal diamonds. In 1959 the company received the Summer Jewel Award of the Goldsmith Association of Valenza and the Crogiolo d'Oro Award of the Vicenza Fair for one of its creations.

In 1950, Giuseppe established a sales office in Venezuela, where he stayed for long periods, representing the company locally called "Hermanos Robotti". South America at that time represented a thriving market for goldsmithery, to the point that several goldsmiths from Valenza moved there. The gem-settler Guglielmo Pozzi, who worked for the company from the late '50s to the mid '70s, met Giuseppe Robotti in Venezuela. This fruitful relationship with the Venezuelan public lasted until the end of the 1960s.

In 1961 Giuseppe left the company to concentrate on the trading of coloured precious stones, mostly emeralds. In 1968 Mario Robotti, Giovanni's son and university student at the time, began working in the company following his father's health issues and stayed until the company closed in the late '90s.

During the course of his activity, the Robotti company produced fine jewellery for the Italian and international markets. In the '90s, Japan also represented a fruitful commercial area.

The participation in fairs, among which those of Vicenza (at the end of the 50s), Valenza, Basel and London (at the beginning of the 80s) are also worth mentioning.

 

Archives

The company's archives have suffered substantial losses over the years, partly during the moving of the premises, partly after the company's closing. Some of these losses have also occurred when the need for conservation became less important compared to current activities. What remains of the archives was preserved by Mario Robotti, who led the company from 1968 to 1999.

The archive consists of a folder called "Foto e Ricordi" (Photos and Memories) containing historical records selected and preserved by Mario Robotti, 13 registers with drawings and the relative model numbers (numbers from 1005 to 10045), and 5 serial books (from 1954).

In particular, the booklet contains

- Original drawings of jewels with "F.lli Robotti Valenza" stamp, 1947 circa - 1960s

- Press clippings of articles related to the company Robotti, 60s and 90s

- The Magazine "L'orafo valenzano", 11, November 1959, in which an article was published about the prizes won by Robotti in that year.

- Photographs of jewels, of the headquarters in Via Oddone, of Giovanni Robotti, together with some Japanese customers, 1960s - 90s

- Two workbooks related, respectively, to Giovanni Robotti and his wife Anna Ricaldone, employed in the company since its foundation (both dated between the beginning of the '30s and 1947)

- Advertising material, including a catalog created for the Japanese market (dating back to the early '90s)

The material is not ordered and is conditioned separately only for the part related to the original drawings.

 

Sources

Lia Lenti, Gioielli e gioiellieri di Valenza, Arte e storia 1825-1975, Allemandi, Turin 1994. Descriptive item on pp. 428-429; table XCIV; illustrations nn. 112, 113, 124, 149, 151, 253, 366, 367, 370, 440, 442, 443, 447, 449, 451, 663, 665, 754.

Lia Lenti, Maria Cristina Bergesio, Dizionario del gioiello italiano del XIX e XX secolo, Allemandi, Turin, 2005. Notes Descriptive entry on p. 244, with illustration.

Leonardo Grano, Lavoro valenzano all'estero, "Valensa d'na vota", n. 2, 1987, pp. 74-77. 

F.lli Robotti (1948)
F.lli Robotti di Giovanni (1961)
Robotti Giovanni & C. snc (1972)
Robotti Giovanni di Robotti Mario & C. snc (1976)
Robotti Giovanni srl (prima metà anni '80)

Via Oddone n.5, Valenza (AL)

BIBLIOTECA CIVICA
CENTRO COMUNALE DI CULTURA


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e-mail: biblioteca@comune.valenza.al.it / PEC: cultura@cert.comune.valenza.al.it

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