Friday, 3 July 2009

Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo has always considered the company’s history to be an essential element in the evolution of modern society and in the development of industrial culture. This has the dual objective of satisfying the growing interest in the brand’s history from the scientific/cultural world and especially from the world of amateurs, and of keeping the company image alive through its past. This led the management of Alfa, in 1969, to give the go-ahead for the creation of the Alfa Romeo Historic Archive.

Work thus began on collecting, selecting and organising an incredible amount of documentary and iconographic material that, over the years, has been complemented by verbal and written accounts by many of the leading figures from Alfa Romeo’s history. A huge contribution to the piecing together of the brand’s history was also made by employees, who were invited to take part in the project in an appeal appearing in the first issue of the internal newsletter, ‘Alfa Romeo News’.
After years of non-stop, rewarding work, during which the Archive took shape, put together an impressive collection of precious documents, and was reorganised with a modern feel, today the Alfa Romeo Historic Archive is a living, vibrant, and proactive reality.

In 1996 the Historic Archive won the competition ‘Promotion of business culture’, run by the Milan Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Business and Innovation, for its efforts in overhauling and improving the Archive.

From 1910, the year A.L.F.A. was founded, until 1963, when its offices were gradually transferred from Portello to Arese, the head office of the Milan-based company (which was to change its name in 1915 to Alfa Romeo) remained in the same location.

This meant that for over sixty years, almost all company documents were produced and stored in the same place, the only exception being during the Second World War, when many precious documents were repeatedly moved around to prevent them from being destroyed. Bombing raids on Milan in February 1943 and October 1944 caused widespread damage and a considerable loss of material from the Alfa Romeo General Management archives, the Advertising Service and the Design Archive.

From a careful examination of surviving documentation and the accounts collected, we can say without a shadow of a doubt that Alfa Romeo took great pains to safeguard its past.

In the mid-Thirties, the then managing director, Engineer Ugo Gobbato (December 1933 - April 1945), recognised the need to collect and preserve details, news and images of the company’s activities. The first steps were taken in 1936, when a Library was set up with the task of finding and distributing technical publications. Later, an archive photographic plates was created and kept in the Technical Publications Department.
In an era when technology and storage systems were a far cry from what they are today, it wasn’t easy to organise all that paperwork, but Alfa Romeo understood the importance of its illustrious past and set itself the legitimate goal of rediscovering its own history.

Alfa Romeo boasts a history rich in heritage and tradition, and the documents relating this history are a valuable source for historical research, both for the company and for the outside world.

Article Source : Alfa Romeo Historic Archive


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