17 Jul 2019
Enrico Zobele

Born in Trento on 30 December 1950, the first-born of Luigi Zobele, first descendant of the family’s third generation, baptised with the same name of his entrepreneurial grandfather.

Born in Trento on 30 December 1950, the first-born of Luigi Zobele, first descendant of the family’s third generation, baptised with the same name of his entrepreneurial grandfather.

Enrico Zobele, having finished his studies in business and economics with a specialisation in commercial businesses obtained from Milan’s Bocconi university, joined the company in 1973, flanking his father in the sales branch, and soon accompanying him in his long travels abroad.

Under his guidance, and marked by a strong drive and world view developed in the company of his father, he launched the internationalisation policy of the Eighties, promoting the company to the point of making it a leading multinational in its field. Its leadership in 1994 led to his appointment as CEO.

Enrico, besides his role at the helm of the company, also became a point of reference in the Trentino business scene and much more, a testament to his passion, the strategic vision of his actions and his absolute decisiveness. In the past he has filled prestigious role such as chairman of Confindustria Trento and the Trento and Rovereto Cassa di Risparmio Foundation.

He is currently President of Zobele Group and Chairman and CEO of Everel Group, the company producing electronic and electromechanical components based in Valeggio (Verona).

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2 Jul 2019
"Zampironi" and Mosquito Coils

At the beginning of the 1960s, mosquito coils and “zampironi” had made their appearance on the Italian market: the first produced in Lombardy, while the latter, in the shape of inverted cones, were produced by Knight Commander Zoppolato.

At the beginning of the 1960s, mosquito coils and “zampironi” had made their appearance on the Italian market: the first produced in Lombardy following a technique learned in Argentina, while the latter, in the shape of inverted cones, were produced in Venice by Knight Commander Zoppolato, owner of Premiato Laboratorio Zampironi.

The Zobele brothers, to continue developing their range of insecticides, the company’s original core product, first bought this laboratory and then succeeded, thanks to the technical documentation that became available, to internalize production, moving on to the more traditional shape of the mosquito coil.

This new product branded "Spiralette" was the result of the union of mostly organic components, in total contrast with DDT. The main ingredient was pyrethrum, an African flower similar to the daisy, from which an active ingredient, particularly repellant to insects, is extracted. The other components of the paste were sawdust, white flour and glue.

The mosquito coil is still produced today in the Trento plant and remains an important product in the range of insecticides offered by the company.

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24 Jun 2019
A family atmosphere

The Sixties constituted the real test of Enrico's heirs’ ability to harness the dynamics of the economic boom, without ever losing sight of the human dimension that had strongly characterized the company's origins.

The Sixties constituted the real test of Enrico's heirs’ ability to harness the dynamics of the economic boom, without ever losing sight of the human dimension that had strongly characterized the company's origins.
The two leading products of the company, Spiralette and scouring pads, allowed the company to double its turnover in those years and gain many positions in the market.

The climate in Via Muredei remained a familial one, and its workers were well looked after. Small adjustments made the working environment comfortable: for example, there was a room with tables and stools for the lunch break and the workers’ locker rooms were equipped with showers. At certain times of the year, like Good Friday, the factory held a liturgical celebration, after which the people would all go to the Prati bar in Trento, where a large Easter breakfast was served, with cups of hot chocolate.

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6 Jun 2019
The Third Generation

The early 1950s were challenging times for the Zobele brothers, in the quest for new manufacturing and organizational solutions, but also rich of good news: the third generation was arriving.

The early 1950s were challenging times for the Zobele brothers, yet they were also years of hope, characterized by a desire to grow. Enrico's moral and material heritage spurred on both Luigi and Fulvio and the factory’s employees, who became increasingly involved in the quest for new manufacturing and organizational solutions.

In the midst of this future-oriented commitment to business, 1950 brought family happiness to Luigi when his first son, Enrico, was born; named after his grandfather, he would go on to play a pivotal role in the management of the company. A few years later Enrico’s sister, Giovanna, arrived.

The following year, Fulvio celebrated the birth of his first son Franco, who inherited his father’s aptitude for applied research and his passion for improving processes and products. Alessandra, Luisa and Giovanni followed, with the latter also playing a part in the company’s history.

The third generation of the Zobele family had, then, well and truly arrived.

Zobele Centenario the third generation

 

(from left: Giovanni, Luigi, Fulvio, Enrico, Franco in the 1990s)

 

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27 May 2019
Steel Wool

A clever intuition combined with talent led to the birth of a new line of products developed in steel wool rolls: the scouring pads for domestic use, a product widely used in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Fascinated by an article read in the newspaper Corriere della Sera about production machines for steel wool, Luigi started looking for a technical solution for the production of scouring pads for domestic use, a product widely used in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

In Italy there was no suitable machinery for the job, and the German machines were very costly, but the two brothers managed to find a unit at an acceptable price, to which Fulvio made the necessary modifications and improvements to ease the production process. The rolls of steel wool that were produced took the name of "pagliette" (scouring pads), whose abrasive function was considered very useful for cleaning specific surfaces.

And so, clever intuition combined with talent led to the birth of a new line of products, developed in steel wool rolls with 3 varieties of grain, called “Nazionale”, “Americana” and “Mobilieri”, and in two products for cleaning pots: rolls and soap-filled scouring pads.

 

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15 May 2019
Employees as part of the family

On reading the will of Enrico Zobele Senior, after his death in 1950, it was discovered that he had left very precise instructions for five longstanding employees in recognition of the services rendered to the company.

On 30th October 1950, Luigi and Fulvio had to emotionally and organisationally deal with the death of their father.

On reading the will, it was discovered that Enrico Zobele Senior had left very precise instructions for five longstanding employees (Giovanni Girardi, Luigi Zadra, Vittorio Bertoldi, Beniamino Cattoni and Pietro Filippini): a payment of one thousand lira for each year of work, “for the services rendered to my company". This was in recognition of the people and families who had grown up with the Zobele family and had expanded, from father to son, relative to relative, the company structure of employees and workers.

Worthy of a special mention are the Bertoldi and Zadra families, close friends of Enrico Senior who witnessed the launch of the first business and whose descendants for generations to come would work in the company with the same feeling of gratitude and belonging of their parents and their grandparents.

Provisions were also included in the will for certain sums of money to be given to charitable organisations in Trento.

 

 

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3 May 2019
Second Zobele Generation

During the post-war period, the new Zobele generation had to immediately face the threat of DDT and to start rethinking the products and the target markets.

 

During the post-war period, Trentino found itself in a state of underdevelopment and the Zobele Chemical Products Factory promptly set about making some structural and organisational changes. Enrico Zobele Senior began to pass down the secrets of the business and management skills to his two sons, Luigi and Fulvio. He died in 1950, but only after having entrusted his heirs with the helm of the company.

The new Zobele generation had to immediately face the threat of DDT arriving from the US to the Italian market: "dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane" was a chemical product initially used to prevent malaria, typhoid and other insect-borne diseases, later converted into a generic pesticide in spray format. Simple and effective, it put the demand for the flycatcher at risk and, therefore, it became essential to expand the range of products in the Zobele catalogue. This convinced the two brothers to start rethinking the products and the target markets.

 

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18 Apr 2019
Wax, grease and paints

Towards the end of the 1930s, the product catalogue expanded with the introduction of floor wax, grease for shoes and paints for aluminum and wood.  The search for comfort in everyday life and the constant improvement of domestic environments...

Towards the end of the 1930s, when the business moved to Via Muredei in Trento, the product catalogue expanded with the introduction of floor wax, grease for shoes and paints for aluminum and wood.
Zobele production began to identify with what would become the common denominator of the products offered: the search for comfort in everyday life and the constant improvement of domestic environments.
 
Enrico Zobele Senior's innate ability to set his sights on different markets, even very distant ones, was highly valuable at that time, when it was necessary to tap into new trade outlets and find new countries to recover the raw materials necessary for production. 
 
Some trivia: "ENZO", the name of the new line, is the acronym of ENrico ZObele.
 
 
 
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9 Apr 2019
Via Muredei

In 1939, the  Fabbrica Chimica Zobele was able to invest in the construction of a larger premises with offices, production area and warehouse, moving to Via Muredei 2/4 in Trento. At full capacity, the factory had more than 300 employees and a monthly turnover of one million Lire...

 

At the end of the 1930s, the Fabbrica Chimica Zobele, at the peak of its prosperity, was able to invest in the construction of a larger premises.

In 1939, the company moved to Via Muredei 2/4 - Trento, into a structure made up of three spaces: one building for offices, one for production and the third as warehouse.  At full capacity, the factory had more than 300 employees who achieved a monthly turnover of one million Lire, while the product catalogue expanded.

Located between two railway lines, one national and the other local, both strategic targets of military bombings during World War II, Enrico Zobele Senior decided to limit damage in 1943 by transferring all the machinery into cellars in less sensitive areas nearby. All this was possible thanks to the collaboration of all the workers, who felt increasingly bound to the company by a bond of solidarity that transcended any roles and positions they held.

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26 Mar 2019
Fulvio Zobele

Fulvio Zobele (1923 - 2014), second born son of Enrico Zobele senior and Emma Hafner, gave his most significant contribution to the family business in the development of the production processes.

Fulvio Zobele (1923 - 2014), second born son of Enrico Zobele senior and Emma Hafner, together with his brother Luigi was a key player in the development of the family business until the 2000s and gave his most significant contribution in the development of the production processes.
 
Having graduated in Mechanical Engineering, he joined the company in 1947 with the initial task of travelling around Italy to promote Zobele products. Thanks to his engineering and technical skills, Fulvio found ever more innovative solutions to improve the production processes that led to the start-up of several new lines (e.g. steel wool). Together with Luigi, he guided the family business to success in the field of insecticides in the Fifties and Seventies. Fulvio, moreover, introduced the techniques for the production of anti-mosquito coils, after having discovered the availability of the patent. In the Seventies he designed the first anti-mosquito electrical device.
 
Remembered as “l’ingener Fulvio”, of a calm and quiet nature, he loved to play the accordion and play with his dog in his free time, but his real passion remained mechanics. 
 
Fulvio Zobele
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