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MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina

Isotessile


The establishment of the business


During the 1920s, a Frenchman, Giovanni Perier, went to work in Somma Lombardo as a technician for the company Itala (later known as Itala-Pirelli), a manufacturer of high-pressure hoses. Having settled in Italy, Giovanni's son, Luciano, began working in same profession, flanking and eventually replacing his father at the same company. In 1939, in order to meet Itala-Pirelli's requirements for semi-finished products, Luciano established the sole proprietorship company Isotessile and built his workshop on a lot opposite to the Itala headquarters. The company, which was run by Luciano Perier, manufactured insulating oil paper and cloth, as well as silver tape (cotton or silk ribbons, impregnated with a special "sterling" paint, used as electrical insulation for the winding of copper coils).

In 1950, the brothers Maurizio and Luciano Perier closed their father's company and continued with their activities by constituting the limited liability company Isotessile s.r.l. As early as 1951, the company had two representatives, with relative depots in Genoa and Turin, and opened its own warehouse in Milan. In 1952, the company's production expanded to include the manufacture of multipurpose Bakelite paper and canvas sheets. These sheets of paper impregnated with phenolic resin, which offer excellent insulating properties, were used for the production of printed circuit boards and switchboards.

Using pure cotton fabric, likewise treated with phenolic resin, sheets and tubes of excellent mechanical strength were produced. The slabs, which were manufactured in various thicknesses, were used to produce special cut and machined parts for various uses, such as the gears used in textile looms, for example. In fact, the alternation of metallic and Bakelite gears within a single frame is capable of providing for significant noise reduction. Bakelite tubes are often used to manufacture bushings for propeller shafts and couplings for rail cars and trams. Some of the company's most important customers include Ferrovie dello Stato (Italian National Railways), Ansaldo and GTE telecommunications. The silver paints and resins used by Isotessile are all produced internally.

 

The business from the 1960s to the 1990s


Upon Luciano Perier's death in 1967, his son-in-law, Sergio Garzonio, assumed the management of the company. Garzonio, a qualified expert chemist, left his own sock manufacturing business in order to devote himself to running Isotessile. Under his leadership, from the mid-sixties to the 1970s, the company underwent its period of maximum growth and eventually employed a total of 30 workers. In 1974, after having completed his accountancy education and military service, Sergio's son, Rudi Garzonio, joined his father in managing the company's production. This experience allowed him to gain a full understanding of the production processes, a knowledge which he was later able to take advantage of in running the company on his own. During the eighties, following the announcement of the first anti-pollution laws, the company was equipped with an afterburner to reduce emissions and decided to abandon the internal production of resins in order to avoid the costly construction of a waste water treatment plant. In 1984, Rudi Garzonio married Giovanna Picone, who also became involved in running the business.

 

From the 1990s to the present


The workload began to gradually decrease in the early 1990s. This was mainly due to reduced production on behalf of the company's customers: the number of customers remained the same, but demand for bakelite paper and cloth diminished. The situation was further complicated by the rise of competition from Asian countries, above all India and China, with whom Isotessile tried to keep up by focusing on product quality, speed of delivery and customer support services, areas in which their Asian counterparts could not compete. Despite not being in possession of any official quality certifications, Isotessile focused a great deal of its attention on quality and sought to protect the traceability of its products.

The company's desire to create special coverings for its products bearing the Isotessile brand name, so as to render them recognizable even once cut and polished, met with opposition from retailers, who feared the possibility of being circumvented by buyers if the origins of the sheets were to be displayed in this manner. The company's remaining strength, therefore, was its ability to offer its customers sheets with off-standard thicknesses, capable of satisfying any requirements and urgent supply needs, even upon short notice. In 2003, Rudi Garzonio replaced his father, Sergio, in the role of company administrator. Today, the company has a total of eight employees. The question of succession is currently not an issue, as Rudi Garzonio's daughters are in the process of completing their company training.