WWII there were many talent engineers and contractors in
Italy. One of those was Ferdinando Innocenti. He was one in
the golden group of managers who were born in the end of
1800 and beginning of 1900. During this time the sons were
matched in the same profession as his father had, from the
very bottom and most of them were black smiths. Most of the
sons got a basic technical education. For this they had
extraordinary use of the WWI. They developed good
leader qualifications. An other important this was of cause
that it was high demand after all sorts of products. They
also learned hqw to produce war material in large amount and
how to organize mass production. But real mass production
was not done until WWII.
Dante, the father, Innocenti who
was a black smith had 2 sons. Ferdinando, f. 1891, and Rosalino.
These worked by their father and learned the profession. Ferdinando
started in the firm to make business with iron. They had a
commission which gave much money through drainage of the
marshland around Maremma..
great luck was that the German company Mannesmann sold seamless
tubes. To make these tubes Mannesmann had developed machines. Ferdinando used these tubes to develop new products.
The first was to use pipes for ladder of scaffoldings. To
make this he bought a system from England. The pipes were
produced in northern Italy, Dalmine, close to Milano.
regime in Italy now had taken over and it was a heavy
depression on the market. As a luck Innocenti had contact
within the Vatican. There were large commissions there and Ferdinando's system
was an important factor. He got also order for sucker VM and
the world trade fair 1936.
The center of industry was situated in the northern of Italy
around Milano. Ferdinando decided to move one part of his
company there. He could also get much free manpower because
of unemployment. Here he produced his scaffoldings and left
only a small part in Rome, as a sales office. Ferdandino was
the only owner of this company.
The company was now grown quickly, most due to the great
building planes from the fascist regime and the need to
produce kits for the armed forces in Italy. There were many
industrial companies that surfed on this expansion. The Ferdandino company was now so large that it had to be split
into 4 different parts. These were organized so that the
complete company got knowledge to take orders without hiring
other special knowledge from outside, like electricians.
the WWII the Milano factories were set up for producing
ammunition of heavier caliber. For this mission the seamless
tubes matched nicely. In order not to pay the profit for tax
all that money was put into expansion. Innocenti merged with
pipe producer Dalmine and bought also machinery from
Germany. Furthermore a production agreement was written
between Italy and Germany. Ferdandino had now an immense
large production establishment in Milano. In the end of the
war this large factory was bombed rather heavy.
realized early that he had to be prepared for the time after
war. He should put money in a cheap vehicle, which later got
the name scooter. The second plan was to develop heavy
machines for pipe production and for the third develop the
The American forces in Rome used a small motorcycle primary
used by parachute forces. This little vehicle was also the free
time transporter for the soldiers.
scooter was named Cushman and produced in America. The
parachute people had got 4700 copies. The main meaning was
that they should use them on the roads which the Germans had
Now Innocenti should make an "Cushman" of their own!
this job Ferdinando engaged an air planes engineer D'Ascanio.
He suggested a scooter with self-supporting frame. Ferdinando didn't like this as he wanted to use the tubes
which he produced. For this reason D'Ascanio had to leave
and two other air plane engineers were engaged instead.
Pier Luigi Torre
Cesare Pallavicino. They became the fathers of the Lambretta
scooter. It got partly a tube frame and because of this a bit
cheaper to produce in smaller volumes. This was important in
the beginning. D'Asconio instead went to Piaggio and
sold his construction there. It became the Vespa.
name Lambretta was generated by the river Lambro which
flow along Milano just outside the area named Lambrado
where the factory of Innocenti was built.
In the beginning there were large troubles to start
production and while Vespa started 1946, Lambretta could not
get their production running until 1947. Therefore there was
large economical difficulties. But thanks to big selling of
presses Innocenti managed. In the beginning only 10 scooters
were assembled against the planned 150 a day. Not until 1948
they had reached 80 a day. These had also construction
problems, mostly because the scooter was not thoroughly
time, in the beginning the scooter became developed and
several improvements were made. The first model got the name Lambretta type M. This last M stood for motor cycle.
The demand for cheap vehicles was though so large that the
customers accepted everything, only they got their delivery.
Ferdinado's son Luigi started 1949 to work in the
company. In order to give satisfaction to the marked
Innocenti sold production licenses to several countries.
Among them NSU in Germany
to produce a NSU scooter 1959. A complete factory was sold
to Venezuela. At last Lambretta was produced in all countries
except Asia. New models were introduced in the end of the 50 th. The scooter had now got it's final appearance.
In Milano large factory buildings stood unused and in the
beginning of 1960 the there was an agreement
Leyland (BMC) to produce their models. Here the BMC A40 and
Mini was assembled in a old fashion way. This work had
nothing to do with Innocenti.
It was now time for Ferdinando to withdraw and he died 1966
and his son Luigi took over. At the same time the vehicle
market started to decrease considerable. The different
production leaders who earlier were controlled with hard
hands to take
of the production effects within the company, only wanted to
show up their own good result. The profit sank to a
catastrophic level. It didn't help with new models.
Luigi became tired of this, the Italian way to make
difficulties. He put the whole production factory for sale.
Not unexpected it became a buyer from India 1973, who bought the
6 billion. BMC production was laid down, mostly because it
was an old construction.
The large Innocenti factory
was empty once more.