MUSEOWEB dell'economia varesina


Historical Profile

From its nineteenth-century origins to the early twentieth century

Lazzati industria grafica was born from a “print shop and bookstore” founded in Gallarate in 1802 by Giovanni Croci. In those years, the printing industry, was undergoing a significant technological evolution, above all in Germany. In 1814, a German inventor named Friedrich Koenig built the first steam powered printing press, which offered a significantly increased printing capacity. The print shop developed rapidly under Giovanni Croci’s son and successor, Marino, an engineer with a passion for print media, who in 1851 obtained permission to open a branch in Busto Arsizio from the local authorities. In 1884 the Croci print shop was taken over by an employee, Marino Bellinzaghi, who renewed its systems and further increased the shop’s business by mainly focusing upon the production of printed material for local government organizations. In the mean time, the rotary printing press and four-color printing had been invented. In need of additional space, the company moved its headquarters to piazza Ponti. At the end of the century, Carlo Lazzati, who as born in Bellano in 1869 (then located in the province of Como, but today in that of Lecco), took over the company’s management and it assumed the name that it would retain up until the present day. Carlo Lazzati enhanced the print shop’s core editorial business by skilfully managing the production of numerous publications. His customers even included the Hoepli publishing house in Milan. Eugenio Salmini, born into a family of merchants in Casorate in 1893, joined the company in 1909 and would go on to have a significant influence upon its development.

From the 1920s to the 1950s

With the 1925 census, Carlo Lazzati registered his company as a sole proprietorship at the Milan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (which had jurisdiction over the municipality of Gallarate), with printing activities being indicated as its main business purpose. At the time, the company employed 34 workers, who were mainly involved in the manual composition of the texts themselves. The area’s economic and industrial development increased the influence of the company’s own customers, which included several historical companies from the Varese area, such as Siai Marchetti, Aermacchi, Parma casseforti and Lanificio di Somma. The company headquarters was eventually moved to via Cavour. Carlo Lazzati passed away in 1937, leaving the print shop to his daughters Maria and Giulia, who nevertheless did not continue with their father’s business. For this reason, the limited partnership “Stabilimento tipolitografico Carlo Lazzati” was formed the following year. The company was owned by Carlo’s daughters, who held roles as limited partners, along with their father’s right hand man, Eugenio Salmini, who held the role of general partner and took control of the company itself. With a passion for photography, Eugenio accentuated the company’s creative and communicative dimensions. The company’s continued growth resulted in a new change of venue, whereby it was transferred, as if by destiny, to via Marino Croci, the street which bore the name of the company’s owner one hundred years earlier. In fact, Marino Croci had been a well respected citizen of Gallarate and had even served as the town’s mayor. During the 1950s, the Lazzati print shop underwent a period of significant development led by Antonio Salmini (born in 1932), who had abandoned his studies to devote himself entirely to the company when his father Eugenio fell ill. In 1958, Antonio Salmini became a partner and took control of the company which, with the sale of the shares held by Maria and Giulia Lazzati, was transformed into a general partnership the following year, assuming the new name of “Tipolitografia Lazzati di Salmini A. & C.”.

From the 1960s to the 1990s

During the 1960s, new technologies, such as offset printing, were born and replaced lithographic printing on polished stone, thus resulting in better product quality. By making numerous sacrifices, Antonio Salmini was able to implement a significant investment plan for the renewal of the machinery, which also implied the rejuvenation of the staff and gave the print shop the look and feel of a modern industrial company. With the help of one of her sisters, who was in charge of the company’s accounting, Antonio Salmini's wife, Maria Elena Masera, joined the company for a brief stint in 1967. Meanwhile the company began developing new products, such as catalogues and company brochures. During the 1970s, the company faced a number of cash flow problems due to delayed payments from governmental entities, but continued to honour its principles and never failed to pay its suppliers. In 1974, the company assumed the legal form of a limited partnership. By the 1980s, Antonio Salmini’s two children, Roberto (born in 1962) and Laura (born in 1965), both of whom had earned their accounting diplomas, joined their father in the management of his increasingly complex and demanding company, whose air they had been breathing from an early age. Roberto dealt mainly with the technological aspects, while Laura took care of commercial and administrative matters, becoming the family’s first female entrepreneur. In 1987, with the help of his father and together with his partner Luciano De Vecchi, who had gained extensive experience at the historic company Smolars in Trieste, Roberto Salmini founded his own independent company: Ldv snc, a company that would be dedicated to the production of continuous forms, or rather paper and stationery for dot matrix printers, and whose success would be closely linked to the development of computers and data processing systems. Roberto acted as the intermediary between the two companies, bringing any knowledge that he acquired from the new company back with him to the old. The economic recession of 1993 forced both Lazzati and Ldv to expand their product ranges to including items such as display cases and smaller cardboard products, thus resulting in the acquisition of new customers. With the inauguration of the new Malpensa airport, airlines increased their orders (including tickets, labels, in-flight magazines, pilot manuals, etc.).

The new millennium

The company’s continued meant that the via Croci facility would soon no longer be capable of meeting its needs. In fact, the premises were located in the old town of Gallarate, and were subject to restrictions on expansion. In 2003, following lengthy and tiresome bureaucratic proceedings, the company built a new facility of 4,500 square metres on family-owned forest land in Casorate Sempione. The land was situated in an area that had already been designated for the construction of industrial plants. That same year, the company was transformed into a limited liability company, headed by Antonio Salmini, and its name was changed to “Lazzati industria grafica”. In order to pay tribute to the company’s role as a symbol of Gallarate’s economic history, its revamped logo contained the Lazzati name and indicated the year 1802. The company’s marketing activities were flanked by the ever-effective policy of “word of mouth” advertising. The digital revolution, which had begun nearly twenty years earlier, required the company to continuously purchase new and increasingly sophisticated devices, particularly in relation to the pre-press stage. Having once been entrusted to outside companies, this stage began to be carried out in-house in order to meet the customer’s needs on a “just in time” basis, whereby the company would be able to offer its clients a comprehensive range of consulting and production services. This required the company to rely upon a new and highly-qualified workforce (in fact, the company currently has nearly thirty young and energetic employees, in contrast to the fifteen that it had back in the 80s). The arrival of laser printers further marginalized the company’s activities in relation continuous form printing, and in 2007 it was decided to incorporate Ldv into Lazzati industria grafica. Despite the economic crisis of recent years, the company’s sales have increased and have been sustained by continuous machinery upgrades, as well as the expansion of the product range. In the meantime, a new awareness of environmental sustainability has arisen. In 2007, the company replaced its development sheets with eco-friendly systems and in 2010 the production facility was outfitted with a photovoltaic system that provides for 90% of its energy needs. The company uses paper from replanted forests and has expanded its product range to include a large number of eco-friendly products. Lazzati even participates in the cultural life of its area by sponsoring local events. In 2011, the company was also included within the Registry of Historical Enterprises created by Unioncamere to mark the 150th anniversary of the Unity of Italy.