The Pioneering Years
Zanussi offers innovative solutions to the most demanding, most intensive users of food service equipment.
The first thirty years of Zanussi, as it was then, reflects the complex and exciting process of the founding of Italian industry dominated by two devastating world wars, and, by the pioneering spirit and courage of entrepreneurial intuition which laid the foundation stones of Italian industry. In 1916, Antonio Zanussi, a young labourer who repaired stoves and wood-burning kitchen ranges in a small workshop in Pordenone, in the middle of a world war, with no other capital than brilliant intuition, distinct talent and burning enthusiasm, opened his business in Pordenone: Officina Fumisteria Antonio Zanussi.
In a few years the thirty-square-metre workshop with 3 employees succeeded in extending its site and production, and, by 1936 occupied an area of 3000 square metres and employed 100 people. Just after that, the first standard wood-burning kitchen range was produced: the glorious AZP with a cast iron griddle, destined for international success.
The great take-off
Events of Italian history then paved the way for the future company, as small businesses made up of craftsmen were surpassed after the Second World War: products were now perceived in terms of increasing volumes and therefore production needed to be standardised. In the light of this, diversification based on technology began. It was the period of the economic miracle; homes started to have a television, a Fiat 500 and very soon, thanks to mass production at Zanussi, a refrigerator along with a washing machine.
In 1959 Zanussi Grandi Impianti gave great impulse to the catering appliance sector. At the time it was already recognised as one of the biggest manufacturers on the world scene.
Six models of freezer display units, an automatic dishwasher with a capacity of 400 dishes an hour and a cooker capable of working on any type of gas, designed and produced in the Vallenoncello factory, were launched. It was the beginning of continuous research, the spurring on to develop new products, the need to cover all market requirements.
The product and process innovation in order to better compete in quality together with the geographic expansion to manage the increasing demands, became a must.
A group is born
The end of the 60s and the beginning of the 70s were marked by a few essential transitions:
The world of professional equipment becomes a separate reality, no longer a division of the household appliances area, which up to that day was the historical core business. It starts to gain increasing importance and weight in the company profile.
The generational change takes place in the precise time the world is changing from tailored to mass production, and the rise of modular lines in the new Vallenoncello establishments. The ability to respond so promptly to the quantitative evolution of the demand and the cultural change in the catering service, make it possible to expand the market quickly throughout Europe.
The great event marking the grand entrance of the Company in this era, is the taking over of F. Zoppas spa and its subsidiaries – the second biggest Italian producer of electrical, household, and global catering appliances. This increased Zanussi’s global productive potential. The merge brought about one of the most impressive industrial and commercial structures in this professional sector .
The merge with the large Swedish Electrolux group, in 1984, brings this reality into the perspective of a more ambitious European strategic plan, aimed at combining the financial resources and managerial abilities of the mother company with the leadership, the productive force and experience of the Zanussi manpower.
The exponential growth of the market shares in central/south Europe has not ceased since then, favouring the onset of a reality which today emerges as the first at the European level, in the field of professional catering equipment.
The Zanussi trademark continues to play the leading role, which history, experience and successes achieved in 50 years of constant improvement have earned.