Fondazione Ansaldo

Fondazione Ansaldo


Declaration of significant historic interest of 10/9/1979

L’Ansaldo's name is inextricably linked to the history of Italian steel production, naval engineering, shipbuilding and electromechanics, in 140 years of wide ranging company transformations industrial mergers and financial concentrations.


During its initial phase, which ran from its foundation in 1853 to the 1890s, the limited company "Gio. Ansaldo & C.”, the result of the collaboration of leading figures in the Genoa economy such as Giovanni Ansaldo, Raffaele Rubattino, Giacomo Filippo Penco and Carlo Bombrini, primarily concerned with the construction and repair of railway materials, was transformed into an industrial organisation employing around 10,000 workers across seven plants in operations ranging from railways to shipbuilding and other engineering works.

The second phase is linked to the names Ferdinando Mariti Perrone and his sons Mario and Pio, corresponding approximately to the first twenty years of the twentieth century. Following an objective of attaining complete production independence, both in the field of steelworks and that of armaments, through an intensive process of vertical integration and with the help of the first world war, the Perrones' Ansaldo reached a total of 80,000 workers in 1918. These employees were distributed across dozens of different plants and subsidiary companies, and the share capital had grown in just the four years of the war from 30 to 500 million lire.

In the years which followed, however, the financial crisis, following unresolved problems of reconversion following the war, laid bare the structural weaknesses of an industrial group whose fortunes were too closely linked to war production. A rescue consortium led by the Banca d’Italia stepped in, leading to the departure of the Perrones (1921) and a drastic downsizing of the company's strategies and facilities.

Over the course of the 1920s, despite a significant increase in electromechanical production, further difficulties emerged which would require the company to come under the control of the Istituto per la Ricostruzione Industriale (institute for industrial reconstruction). The I.R.I. and the rearming of Italy returned Ansaldo to the level of the great transformations underway in the industrial world at that time; the key figure in this major redesign of the organisational structure was Agostino Rocca, MD of the company from 1935 until the end of the war.

The significant technical/production growth and increased employment linked to wartime commissions (the 22,000 employees in 1939 grew to 35,000 by 1943) would, however, lead to new difficulties at the end of WWII, and the reconversion was this time entrusted to the holding company Finmeccanica, set up in 1948 by the I.R.I. Other structural reorganisations were still to come during the 1950s and 1960s, and in 1966, with its shipbuilding activities transferred to Italcantieri in Trieste, the name Ansaldo would no longer be connected with shipbuilding, after more than a century.

A complex process of corporate reorganisation, beginning in 1966, led to the founding of the main thermo-electromechanical group in Italy, and its incorporation with Finmeccanica S.p.A. in 1993.

The complex company history led to dispersion of the company archives, requiring difficult and laborious work from the foundation to piece them back together.

The archive currently includes 1,999 envelopes/registers for the period 1853-2002, divided into 34 series and 5 collections of printed material, for which the following is listed below: name, chronological details, size, summary description of the content, document type. The archive has been partially transferred to microfilm.

Archives and Collections

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