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  • Illustration of the first plants of the Pignone Foundry, Florence.zoom in altra finestra
  • Label with the Foundry's company title:  "Second fusion iron Foundry outside the San Frediano gate at Pignone", Florence.zoom in altra finestra

Fonderia del Pignone [Pignone Foundry]

The "second fusion iron Foundry", known as the Pignone Foundry, was built in 1842 outside the San Frediano gate, on the left bank of the Arno. An old port in the vicinity (a landing for small boats) was used to load and unload goods between Florence and the port of Livorno, before the construction of the Leopolda Railway Station.

The Pignone Foundry initially made various objects of street furniture and for private use, many of which had an artistic quality. The use of iron in constructions indeed laid the basis for a new relationship between art, technology and industry. In 1856, under the direction of engineer Pietro Benini, the Foundry machine shop produced the first model of internal combustion engine, invented by Barsanti and Matteucci.

Around the mid 19th century, the Pignone quarter became the city’s industrial district: in addition to the Foundry, the Gas Works and other small manufacturing plants settled there.

In the late 19th century, the Foundry began military production, and in 1917 the factory was transferred to the Rifredi quarter. During World War II, the industrial plant was destroyed, and later began the reconversion of its activity. The factory closed in 1953, but the following year, the "Nuova Pignone" was founded and entered the field of high technology. Still today, it boasts a very prominent role both nationally and internationally.


Texts by Graziano Magrini

English translation by Victor Beard

Last update 23/feb/2008