Fondazione Ansaldo

Fondazione Ansaldo


This was an experimental initiative developed between May 1983 and October 1984 which aimed to combine the written and iconographical heritage with a collection of oral accounts which would extend to the widest possible range of hierarchical and professional positions in the enterprise. An open interview technique was used, taking the interviewee's working experience as the base, which was then supplemented where possible with written company material (organisational diagrams, lists of professional positions, salary tables etc.) and iconographical material.

The working group, composed of Luca Borzani, Alain Dewerpe, Ferdinando Fasce and Alessandro Lombardo, performed 8 interviews on workers and technicians present at Ansaldo in the years around the first world war, providing a total of around 18 hours of recordings.

 INTERVIEW no. 1, dated 14/5/1983 - Mario Battistelli

Hired at the Meccanico Ansaldo plant on 2/1/1915 as an apprentice turner in the lathe department.

Transferring to the tooling department following occupation of the plants, he left in 1922.

He then worked for eight years in small workshops in the Sampierdarena area, before returning to the Ansaldo lathe department in 1930 as a borer, where he remained until May 1936. In 1934 he joined the Italian Communist Party where he was responsible for Communist propaganda and anti-fascist activities, mainly in the city centre, and later joining the Bellucci Brigade.

In 1936 he moved to the Cantieri del Tirreno (Genoa shipyard), where he mainly worked on board ships; he remained there until 1952. In March 1945 he switched from being a member of the GAP (Italian Resistance Movement) to a partisan in Sannazzaro de Burgundi in the province of Pavia, before returning to Genoa on 5 May 1945. He went back to work at the Cantieri del Tirreno shipyard, where he also performed (from 1945 to 1952) union and political activities, such as secretary of the internal committee and party head. From 1952 to 1956 he worked as a borer in a small workshop in the Port of Genoa, “Guarnieri”.

At the time of the interview (14/5/1983), he lived in Sampierdarena. A retiree, he was president of the Sampierdarena section of the ANPI (Associazione Nazionale Partigiani d’Italia) partisans' association.

INTERVIEW no. 2, dated 11/7/1983 - Vittorio Patagonale

Vittorio Patagonale was born in Morasco (GE) on 8/9/1901.

In 1913 he was hired by the Ansaldo shipyard in Sestri Ponente, and on 20/6/1923, after performing his military service, he was once again hired by Ansaldo as a labourer at the engineering plant. On 1/6/1924 he became a button-making assistant, before becoming a fitter on 16/12/1925. On 7/1/1932 he went to work at the assembly shop in the Port of Genoa. In 1962 he retired after many years as a foreman in the engineering plant. At the time of the interview (11/7/1983), he lived with his wife in Genoa.

 INTERVIEW no. 3, dated 24/10/1983 - Luigi Ghiglione

Luigi Ghiglione, son of Francesco Ghiglione and Giuseppina Barabino, was born in Pontedecimo (GE) on 7/11/1902.

The second child of a carpenter, after elementary school he worked as an apprentice from 9/8/1915 to 12/5/1916 at the Fabbrica Serrature Perrino lock factory in Pontedecimo, and from 2/6/1916 to 10/11/1917 at Industria Meccanica Ligure, also in Pontedecimo (previously known as the Candelo Simone company). In November 1917 he was taken on as a fitter in the toolmaking department of the Ansaldo artillery plant; he left in November 1918. From 29/11/1918 to 13/9/1922 he worked as a fitter at the Fratelli Bruzzo ironworks in Bolzaneto. In 1922 he started work at his father's furniture factory, of which which he later took on the running and then ownership. At the date of the interview (24/10/1983), he was running the factory together with his son, and living in Genoa-Pontedecimo.

INTERVIEW No. 4, dated 17/11/1983 - Primo Curti

Primo Curti was born in 1905 in Sampierdarena.

Son of a shopkeeper, he joined the Ansaldo medium artillery department just before his twelfth birthday, under the foreman De Martini; after ten months he became a fitter's assistant, and was then let go six months after that. He then worked in the foundry at Officina Toriani in S. Martino (Sampierdarena).

After performing military service between 1924 and 1925, he worked in various plants before arriving around 1940 at the Ansaldo engineering plant, where he would work as a sling operator until 1965. A childless retiree, at the time of the interview (17/11/1983), he lived with his wife in Sampierdarena.

INTERVIEW No. 5, dated 12/12/1983 - Carlo Argeri

Carlo Argeri was born in Gaiba di Rovigo in 1904; in 1906 his father, a skilled hemp worker, moved his family to Genoa to take up work at the Corderia Nazionale ropery.

A hairdresser's boy, in 1915 he was taken on at the age of 11 by the Ansaldo foundry and steelworks plant as a porter's boy; he later worked as errand boy to the director Federico Giolitti in Villa Brignole. From 1920 to 1924 he worked in the lathe department, first as apprentice turner, and then as turner. Between 6/3/1924 and 6/9/1926 he carried out his military service in Marina. As soon as his discharge came, he was hired by the Ansaldo artillery plant as foreman. In 1953 he resigned and dedicated himself to commercial activities.

At the time of the interview (12/12/1983), he lived in Sampierdarena.

 INTERVIEW No. 6, dated 15/10/1983 - Giovanna Pallanzone

Giovanna Pallanzone was born on 13/12/1893 in Cartosio, in the province of Alessandria. In 1909 she went to live with relatives in Genoa. In 1917, the year of her father's death, she was taken on in the Fiumara plant, where she was involved in the production of munitions. In early 1919 she married and left Ansaldo to become a housewife; she was widowed in January 1983. At the time of the interview (15/10/1983), she lived with her son in Genoa Pontedecimo.

INTERVIEW No. 7, dated 18/6/1984 - Alpinolo Montanesi

Alpinolo Montanesi was born in Terni in 1906. His father, construction foreman at the Terni company, was hired by the Ansaldo foundry and steelworks plant in 1910.

In 1918, just before his twelfth birthday, he was also hired by the Ansaldo steelworks as a porter, going on the become a construction foreman in 1953.

He left his position in 1967. At the time of the interview (18/06/1984), he lived with his wife in Sampierdarena.

INTERVIEW No. 8, dated 11/10/1984 - Attilio Profumo

Attilio Profumo was born in Sampierdarena on 18/1/1899.

The son of a carpenter, after completing some elementary school education he entered the Ansaldo engineering plant in 1915 where he worked on 105mm gun carriages.

An infantryman, he was captured ended up remaining in the army until 1920. After working various jobs, he returned to the engineering plant in 1925 as a fitter, working on engines.

He retired in 1960, having reached the level of foreman. At the date of the interview (11/10/1984), he was living at the S. Raffaele institute in Coronata.


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