Linen, precious as the future
11 Jul 2023
It all began on January 14, 1873, when Andrea Ponti founded Linificio e Canapificio Nazionale by merging small entities: Ceriani & C. from Fara Gera d’Adda, where wet spinning was concentrated; Battaglia & C. from Cassano d’Adda, a dry spinning mill that mainly produced ropes and twines; and in 1875, Maggioni & C. joined with their weaving facility in Crema. As the production reached significant levels and in 1876 the company was listed on the Milan Stock Exchange, the third Italian company.
We are in an important historical period, the Second Industrial Revolution, when Europe experienced a period of development due to scientific and technological discoveries. The use of electricity, oil, new communication systems and increase in transport also influenced the industry and its development, supplanting the predominantly agricultural/artisanship/commercial system that preceded it. Even flax and hemp were primarily processed at home or in small businesses, but with industrialization they became part of a structured production and processing system. As Italy lacked raw materials such as coal, it harnessed its water resources for hydroelectric power generation. Thanks to hydroelectric power plants, the Lombard factories of Linificio e Canapificio Nazionale were able to use the waters of the Adda River.
Until 1885 Linificio enjoyed a peaceful and successful period until a time when high demand corresponded to high raw material costs.
In 1888, Andrea Ponti passed away. He was not only an entrepreneur but also a member of Parliament, mayor of Milan, and a member of the Upper House. However, he is often remembered as a philanthropist. He built workers’ housing, canteens, stores, kindergartens, schools, promoted mutual aid societies and pension funds (at that time, public health care and social security did not yet exist), and much more, not only for the facilities in the Bergamo area but also for those in Gallarate (his hometown) and Milan.
Since its foundation, Linificio e Canapificio Nazionale has maintained a mutual exchange relationship with the territory. The desire to protect it and maintain a connection with the community is also confirmed by obtaining B Corp™ certification.