Downes Tyre Service Ltd
Phone: +64 3768 5090
Tyres Brands: GT Radial, Dunlop, Goodyear, Falken, Mickey Thompson, Pirelli.
Address: 241 Main South Road, Paroa, Greymouth, West Coast.
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Pirelli Tyres History
It was on January 28, 1872 when Giovanni Battista Pirelli obtained the registration of a company that began as a producer of rubber objects and has ended up being a benchmark for high-performance tires
Born on December 27, 1848 in Varenna, Giovanni Battista Pirelli was the eighth of ten children of Santino Pirelli, a baker, and Rosa Riva, although only five survived. After his initial studies, he transferred to Milan to study physics and mathematics, then to Pavia to expand them, he enlisted with Garibaldi’s troops in the War of Independence of 1866 and finally returned to Milan to obtain the title of industrial engineer, that he got with the best grades of his promotion.
That earned him a scholarship that, through Europe, allowed him to meet great companies, personalities and production methods. But above all, an element that was revolutionizing the industry: rubber, or elastic rubber. The fellowship lasted until September 1871. But Pirelli already had an idea in mind, and so, on January 28, 1872, he founded the GB Pirelli & Co., of which he was the sole managing partner, with a registered capital of 215,000 lire. His first factory, on the banks of the Sevesetto, was modest, with only a thousand square meters and just 45 workers, which in just 10 years will already be 250.
Initially with rubber tubes and tapes, but gradually expanding the business to shoe soles, raincoats or tire cables, only three years after the company was founded, half of the country’s demand for rubber objects is Pirelli. But that’s not enough. Pirelli’s mind for the future leads him to see the future in telecommunications. And it is there where from 1881 onwards it will expand its range of products, with submarine cables for telecommunications, which allowed the telegraph cables to be passed under water not only in Italy, but also in Africa or from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca.
That prosperity also had to confront legitimate workers’ demands. That is where the first chapter of the Pirelli series begins and ends, with the strike on May 5, 1898 that resulted in the Bava Beccaris massacre, with 418 people killed and hundreds injured by police and government repression. Giovanni Battista Pirelli thinks from his factory how to improve the employment situation, which in the future will lead to a scientific organization of work, the presence of doctors and psychological tests and an improvement in working conditions. But just before, in 1901, the production of what would be the signature work and hallmark of the firm had started: automobile and motorcycle tires.
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