In November 1945, the brothers Alessandro (1918), a veteran of the artillery corps of WWII and wounded at the Battle of El Alamein in North Africa (jobless) and Enrico (1925), a young mould maker assistant at the Perani Foundry of Brescia (at that time a foundry of aluminium castings and bronze statues with the “lost-wax casting” method), decided to embark upon a new adventure in the production of simple aluminium castings. Their father Giovanni, owner of a rural house in the small hamlet Soseto di Sopra, in the locality of Sopraponte di Gavardo, freed the pigsty from the two pigs that he normally raised for the families of his children, to make space available so the new entrepreneurs could start their activity.
With a graphite crucible, an iron ring, the cavity of the walls filled with coking coal and a manual chimney bellows to supply oxygen to the coal combustion, they began to melt aluminum to make pots, in different sizes, to cook polenta or soup. The handle of the pot was made by using an iron rod. The first land for the foundry was bought from an existing foundry located in Brescia in via Milano “La Radiatori” then later renamed “Ideal Standard”. The production was sold on the markets of Nozza di Vestone or Gavardo by transporting the goods on a little cart pulled by a bicycle. One day the historical parish priest of Sopraponte, Don Antonio Andreassi, former chaplain of the Alpini, visiting the small foundry thought of helping the two young men by giving them an old bellows of a manual organ that was no longer used. In this way, by increasing the quantity of air blown on the incandescent coking coal, they were able to increase productivity of the crucible furnace.
As the news about the existence of the foundry on the territory was spreading, a few months after starting the new business, the director of the then wool mill of Gavardo, located in Bostone between Gavardo and Villanuova, that employed about eight hundred employees, called the Mora brothers telling them that he needed new bushings that needed to be replaced on the looms. He would supply the worn bushings. And that’s how the second crucible for bronze castings was installed!
Different from aluminium, the casting of bronze created problems of "blowing" on the bushings and this led the brothers to seek the advice of an expert chemist. And so Dr. Bettoni, owner of an ancient pharmacy in Brescia, who at that time taught Metallurgy at the Moretto Technical Institute, was contacted. Once the issue of the bronze “blowing” was solved, they could proceed and produce regularly and in constant growth, manufacturing aluminium pots and bushings for textile looms.
The coking coal was purchased from a merchant in Brescia and transported to Soseto in jute sacks with a pickup truck borrowed from the baker and friend Enrico Bettoni of the same hamlet.
In 1948 the requests of customers, and therefore production, in continuous growth, led the Mora brothers to move to Gavardo in via Giovanni Quarena 60 (inhabited center) by first renting and then buying an old stable. The first workers were hired. The request to have cast iron "return rope" wheels for the cutting of marble blocks by companies in Virle Treponti made the brothers decide to install a first “Cupola” coal furnace for the melting of cast iron. Production therefore consisted in aluminium, bronze and cast iron castings. In front of the stable, on the other side of the road, there was a vacant lot of land for sale. It was bought in 1952 and so two buildings or 400 square meter each were built. The two Mora families moved from Soseto to Gavardo to the house next to the new foundry buildings, bought in 1956 from Mr Norino Manenti, then owner of Mobili Manenti. Leaving the kitchen you entered the foundry.
In 1958, the company employed about fifty employees. The production of cast iron began to prevail over other materials. The two cupola furnaces operated, on alternate days, at full capacity. At that time there were no ecology laws, however Alessandro and Enrico were aware they could not continue, in the inhabited center, to work with coal furnaces with fumes and dust coming out of the chimneys. They therefore started thinking about moving to isolated locations without any houses nearby. The Mayor of Villanuova at the time, offered a large, vacant area close to Tormini, free of charge, beyond “Seriola” of the Ottolini cotton mill so that the foundry could be moved there and employ local workforce. When the (historic) Mayor of Gavardo, Dr. Guido Franchi, became aware of this offer made by his counterpart of Villanuova, he called Alessandro and told him: “Your activity must not leave Gavardo, go to the end of the village, away from everything, there are large areas where you can expand your foundry and employ as much workers as you can. I can help to convince the owners to sell you the agricultural areas that don’t make much money and you will have to commit to employ them or their families.”
In the years 1959/1960 the first four buildings of 64 by 12 meters were built in the current headquarters in Via Giovanni Quarena 207!
The production of bronze castings was abandoned in the 70s and of aluminium castings in the 80s to first focus on the production of lamellar cast iron only and later mainly on producing spheroidal cast iron.
Gian Paolo Mora, 24/08/2020