This spreadsheet shows the two souls of Giovanni Ansaldo: the artistic one and the mathematical one. The founder of Gio. Ansaldo & C. studied the art of drawing, but later embarked on a university career, graduating at the age of 21 in Civil Engineering and, the following year, in hydraulic engineering. In love with numbers and science, he obtained prestigious positions: in 1847 he was called to the chair of descriptive geometry in the faculty of philosophy and arts of the University of Genoa and, subsequently, he was entrusted with the chair of mechanics applied to the arts in the evening technical school by himself established. The content of the sheet is most likely a discussion of Descartes' folium, in preparation for some academic lecture. At the time it was already well known and therefore no longer a cause for research. Furthermore, the pencil sketch of an angel, in addition to showing the artist's artistic flair, suggests that the sheet was probably for personal use.
In the Foundation there is the Giovanni Ansaldo Fund containing the academic qualifications, notes and study texts of scientific subjects and university lectures.
This photograph portrays a smiling Mary Pickford, symbol of silent cinema and old Hollywood, aboard the transatlantic Rome in 1928. Her presence on the ship is significant and tells much more than a simple journey. At the time, Ansaldo ships, synonymous with efficiency and luxury, were chosen by important figures from the world of politics and entertainment to make the long ocean crossings. The Roma, launched on February 26, 1926 at the Ansaldo Shipyard in Sestri Ponente, was the largest and fastest Italian liner ever built up to that time (over 30,000 tons of weight 215 meters long with a top speed of 24 knots). Thanks to these characteristics, it was able to cover the Genoa - New York route in just ten days, a real record, beaten a few years later by another Ansaldo ship: the Rex.
The Annals of Caffaro, written by Caffaro di Rustico da Caschifellone between 1099 and 1163, are important historical documents that tell of the municipal origins of Genoa. Over the years they were implemented by other chroniclers and the last was Jacopo Doria who completed the work in 1293. The documents were alienated, probably during the Napoleonic period, and today the originals are in Paris. The State Archives of Genoa worked hard to obtain its restitution, but without success. In 2016, however, he managed to have them on loan for the realization of the documentary exhibition “Treasures of the Archive”. The documents kept at the Ansaldo Foundation are handwritten copies made by Giovanni Ansaldo in the mid-nineteenth century. It is assumed that the copy was made directly in Paris, therefore they represent a very important testimony for the city of Genoa. The copy is part of the Giovanni Battista Ansaldo Family Archive, which contains materials relating to several members of the Ansaldo family.
During the years of the First World War Gabriele D'Annunzio coined the term "War Blacksmiths" to indicate the workers of the Ansaldine. We can see how much the term was supported by Ansaldo and how much it had spread in the collective imagination through the propaganda poster presented here and created by Giuseppe Palanti (1881-1946) painter, illustrator and teacher of the chair of decoration of the Higher School of the Academy of Brera. The poster dates back to 1918, bearing the share capital of Ansaldo, and is part of the sector of various advertisements in support of the war effort in our country.
A year after the end of the Great War, many advertising postcards were published, this one, dating back to 1919, is dedicated to the aeronautical production of Ansaldo which, in particular, had great success in the production of the SVA model (Savoja-Verduzio-Ansaldo) here portrayed. Airplane that became the protagonist in two great historical events: the 1918 flight over Vienna by Gabriele D'Annunzio and the 1920 Rome - Tokyo Raid by Arturo Ferrarin.
This photo, dating back to 1914, at the Fonderie e Acciaierie di Cornigliano, portrays the workers posing during the processing of the stern for the passenger ship Duilio. The turboship was commissioned by Navigazione Generale Italiana and was the first large Italian transatlantic, launched in 1916 and entered into service in 1923. The dimensions of the Duilio were considerable, just think that, at the time, it was the first Italian ship to exceed the 200 meters long and 20,000 tons in weight. The Duilio, one of the pride of Ansaldo production, sank in 1944, due to the bombing of the Allies.
Ansaldo, drawing room, 1915. The Ansaldo photo library holds an immense number of photographs of the various factories, of the workers, of the productions. In addition to the work of the worker, the clerk, the engineer, the work of the designer was fundamental. The results of the work of these men, real artists, masters of drawing, can be found in the beauty and number of technical and industrial drawings that the Ansaldo Foundation preserves; in addition to those present in the various archives, the Foundation has collected up to now about 100,000 original drawings made starting from the second half of the 19th century.
Launch of an X2 minelayer submarine in the Sestri Ponente shipyard. Commissioned by the Royal Italian Navy and launched in 1917, it carried out several mine-laying missions during the Great War. After little use during the Second World War, he was disbarred in 1946.
To find out more, to find this and other photos about submarines and much more, you can visit the "Fotografia e Industria" site which collects 40,000 images from our Photo Library and digitized starting from 2015 thanks to the support of the Compagnia di San Paolo and the work of the Promemoria Cooperative Society.
I.S.V.A., Cornigliano Ligure, 1917. In this photo we see the seaplane version of the famous S.V.A. airplane, derived from the S.V.A. 4 and S.V.A. 5 that Ansaldo created in collaboration with Colonel Guidoni and at the request of the Royal Navy. The seaplane saw the application of tubular floats equipped with special hydroplane fins to facilitate detachment from the water. The tests gave satisfactory results, but the aircraft was difficult to fly (especially when ditching) and only 50 copies were ordered.
Launch of the Augustus motor ship in the Sestri Ponente shipyard. The MN / Augustus was launched on 13 December 1926, commissioned by the Italian General Navigation. Godmother of the launch was Edda Mussolini, daughter of the head of the Italian government Benito Mussolini. At the time the Augustus was the largest motor ship in the world, with a length of 232.90 meters, 27.16 meters wide and with a gross tonnage of 32,652 tons. The speed it reached was also remarkable: 19 knots. After having traveled the routes of South America, in 1941, in time of war, it was requisitioned by the Italian Navy and transformed into the Sparrowhawk aircraft carrier. Due to the war difficulties, however, the aircraft carrier never became operational. In 1944 the Germans, to prevent the Allies from using the port of Genoa, towed the Sparviero, sinking it.
Machining of a naval turbine at the Mechanical Plant of Sampierdarena. This photo, dated 1926, highlights the expertise of the Ansaldo workers, portrayed here posing. The excellent Mechanical Plant was the first "piece" of Ansaldo's "mosaic" active in various fields, from iron and steel to electrical engineering, from railways to aeronautics ... The mechanical plant, founded in 1853, thanks to the vision of the engineer Giovanni Ansaldo, from the ashes of the Taylor & Prandi company, was initially involved in the production of locomotives and railway equipment. From the 200 workers of the foundation date there was a great development; 980 in 1884 up to 6,180 units in 1917. The production became more diversified over time: motor apparatuses, pieces of large and small forges, boilers, metal constructions, cranes, turbines and marine machines, as we have seen in the photo.
Genoa-type two-axle trolleybus. The photo from 1936 shows a car produced in the Cornigliano Electrotechnical Plant and commissioned by UITE (Unione Italiana Tram Elettrici) today, AMT - Municipalized Transport Company of Genoa, of which the Ansaldo Foundation preserves the Historical Archive. A profound transformation of the company and of Genoa began in the 1960s, which led to the dismantling of all the tram lines, replaced with trolleybuses and then with bus lines, more suited to the city's vehicular traffic.
Construction of the Andrea Doria passenger ship in the Sestri Ponente shipyard. This photo is dated 1950. The Andrea Doria was commissioned by the Italian Navigation Company and was one of the pride of our country in the second post-war period. On 25 July 1956, the ocean liner was wrecked following a collision with the merchant ship Stockholm. Ansaldo Foundation conserves material that can be consulted relating to the sinking, as well as numerous images present in the Photo Library, relating to the construction and fitting out of the turboship.
Born in Turin on January 10, 1847, Ferdinando Maria Perrone, in 1873, enters into a relationship with the economist Luigi Luzzatti and carries out public and political activities. In March 1876 he married Cleonice Omati (1857 - 1935), they were born Pio (31 October 1876 - 16 January 1952) and Mario (1 January 1878 - 29 November 1968).
In 1884 he moved to Argentina where he established himself as an entrepreneur and representative of Ansaldo, a company of which he became the owner in 1904. Upon his death, which took place in Genoa on 9 June 1908, his children will continue their entrepreneurial activity. In particular, they will resume and develop their father's project of creating an autonomous Ansaldo both in the steel and armaments fields.
Through an intense process of vertical integration and thanks to the war situation, Ansaldo dei Perrone in 1918 reached its maximum expansion with a share capital of 500 million lire and employing about 80,000 employees distributed in dozens of factories and subsidiaries between which: A. Cerpelli & C., Banca Industriale Italiana, Cantieri Officine Savoia, Dynamite Nobel, Gio.Fossati & C., Lloyd Italico, Nazionale di Navigazione, Pomilio, Negri Hydroelectric Company, SPA, Italian Transatlantic. In 1921, with the resignation from Ansaldo, the Perrones ceased all commitment in the industrial field, continuing, above all, in the publishing business.
The Ansaldo Foundation keeps the Perrone Fund, donated on 22 May 2000, concerning both the family events and the entrepreneurial activities of Ferdinando Maria, Mario and Pio Perrone. The Fund was declared of considerable historical interest on 22/3/1982.
Ansaldo Foundation preserves unique material referring to the figure of Francesco Gerolamo Ansaldo (1857-1926), son of Giovanni Ansaldo and Giuditta Muratori. At the age of fourteen he was embarked as a ship's boy on the "Pietro Cerruti" brig, a journey that marked the beginning of a long and prosperous maritime career that ended only in 1922 with his retirement. Graduated as a long-time captain in 1875, he left documentation of his long journeys, with annotations, thoughts, and extremely precise hand drawings. The “log books” and the “marine manuals” are a real historical mine that leads us to travel back in time, just like the captain. Exotic places (he obtained command of numerous boats bound for the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia) and different cultures, analyzed with critical thought, without implying who knows what Western superiority. In the photo we see the “Marino's Manual Part 2a of the Ship”, text on shipbuilding. It contains passages and texts taken by different authors in Italian and English accompanied by images, tables and explanatory drawings created by the hand of Francesco Gerolamo Ansaldo.
In the captain's documentation there are drawings, illustrations that highlight his artistic skills. In a small notebook Francesco Gerolamo Ansaldo produced several sketches concerning the various ship models of his time and of the past. Almost a game, an exercise to pass the time, but of great utility and extraordinary beauty. Here we see, placed almost in opposition, two different ships, meticulously represented by the captain's pen: a Polish and a brig on the pole.
Archive of Banco di Chiavari and the Ligurian Riviera, shares. The Ansaldo Foundation maintains the Banco di Chiavari and Riviera Ligure Fund, whose documentation amounts to about 700 pieces including envelopes and registers, attesting the activity of the credit company from 1870, the year of its foundation, to 2003. The Fund was declared of considerable historical interest from 14/12/2000.
“I'll come and pick you up tonight on my Torpedo Blu…” An immortal song by Giorgio Gaber to remember a legendary car, yes, produced by Ansaldo! Among its many activities, Ansaldo was also involved in the production of automobiles. Car-automobile construction began in 1918 with four test chassis (chassis). The first was built in the Gio. Ansaldo & C. Aviation Engine Plant in San Martino di Sampierdarena, the other three were built in the San Giorgio plant in Turin.
The Torpedo, in particular, was a type of open bodywork for cars that was very popular in the early decades of the twentieth century. Now no longer in use, it still remains a symbol of elegance and refinement with that iconic, enchanting blue color.
Photographer by profession, he carried out his activity between 1901 and 1960. Among the subjects depicted were: the Aosta Valley, Mont Blanc, Monte Rosa, the Matterhorn, the Dolomites, the Ligurian Riviera, Genoa.
The jewel of the Ansaldo Foundation is the “Campostano Photographic Laboratory”, made up of vintage and laboratory photographic cameras, equipment, lenses and other accessories and furnishings. The laboratory includes 595 original negative and printed photographs, collected in the “Fondo Campostano”.
Other works on display
Exhibited in Permanent Collection
Gherardo delle Notti
Antoon van Dyck
Gregorio de Ferrari