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  • EPISODE 11: CAMILLO & ADRIANO OLIVETTI

    The subjects of Episode 11 are Camillo and Adriano Olivetti and the origins of computing. The Avant-garde of design. What does an Italian Typewriter have to do with your Mac? Below I have provided additional content to help you dive deeper into Episode 11 and help with your "homework" assigned at the end of the episode! Outline of Season 1 Episode 11: CAMILLO & ADRIANO OLIVETTI: An American Journey. Camillo Olivetti, Thomas Edison, and Leland Stanford From the writing type to a human type. About typewriting and typography From Ivrea to the world. Olivetti’s impact on architecture, design, and technology Olivetti and Steve Jobs. What Apple owes to an Italian visionary Keywords: Typewriters; design; technology; architecture; Apple; Edison; Steve Jobs THE AMERICAN DREAM OF A YOUNG ENGINEER As a young graduate from the Polytechnic of Turin, Camillo Olivetti (pictured below), accompanied as a translator his professor Galileo Ferraris to the World Electrical congress held in the pavilions of the 1893 Columbian Exposition of Chicago. After the encounter with Thomas Edison in New Jersey, and the actual congress, Olivetti decided to travel to California, where he was hired in the fall of the same year at the newly founded Stanford University. The 1893 Columbian Exposition celebrated the fourth centenary of Columbus’ voyage to the New World. It was held in Jackson Park, Chicago, and had about 27 million visitors. Its main attraction, which was first presented on its White City, was the Ferris Wheel. Below is a view of the central pool and the expositive grounds. Stanford University was founded in 1885 by the former California governor Leland Stanford in honor of his child, lost to typhoid. In Stanford’s intention, the university was conceived as a new kind of academic institution, merging various spheres of knowledge in multidisciplinary institutes, schools and labs. If you visit Stanford today, its spaces still reflect this original idea of inter-connectedness and cross-fertilization of disciplines. Here is an aerial view of campus. OLIVETTI’S DREAM IN HIS HOMETOWN OF IVREA In his early days, Olivetti manufactured instruments for electrical measurements. The company however had a rough start and moved to Milan, where the Italian Edison plant was located. After breaking with his financial partners, Olivetti returned to his hometown of Ivrea, in Piedmont, in 1908 and changed target for his business, opening the first line of Italian typewriters. Starting in the 1930s, Olivetti began producing in house all gears for its machines, built a new headquarters for the company, designed by rationalist architects Figini and Pollini (see picture below), and reconfigured the city of Ivrea around the factory workers. After the death of Camillo in 1943, his son Adriano took over, leading the company to global success. With its worldwide expansion in the 1950s, Olivetti commissioned key projects to top Italian architects. Marco Zanuso planned the modernist factory of Olivetti in Sao Paulo, Brazil; the BBPR firm of Milan (Barbiano di Belgioioso, Peressutti, & Rogers) designed the Olivetti store in New York, at 584 Fifth Avenue; and Carlo Scarpa reconfigured a small store in Piazza San Marco, Venice into an Olivetti showroom. THE BEST OF OLIVETTI The first Olivetti typewriter, the M1 (pictured left), was presented in 1911, at the universal exposition of Turin, celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of Italy’s unification. In contemporary ads, the M1 appeared in connection to Dante (as in the 1912 poster by Teodoro Ferrari) and femininity (as in a later poster by Marcello Dudovich). In the one, Dante proudly points to the M1, inviting the viewer to use it. In the other, a young lady marvels over it in adoration and wonder. Both images signify the new capacity to express the most inner inspirations and feelings granted by automated writing. Under the leadership of Adriano Olivetti, the company would invest in technology and design. Olivetti would pioneer the computing age after the 1959 release of Elea 9003 (pictured right), one of the forerunners of the personal computer. With the hiring of top designers like Marcello Nizzoli, Ettore Sottsass, and Mario Bellini, Olivetti would also sign some of the most unforgettable pieces of Italian design. Some of them are exposed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Here below, in order, the Lettera 22 typewriter (1950) by Nizzoli, the Valentine portable typewriter by Sottsass (1968), and the Divisumma by Bellini (1972).

  • Episode 10: Edoardo Bianchi

    The subject of Episode 10 is Edoardo Bianchi, who was an Italian entrepreneur and inventor who founded the bicycle manufacturing company Bianchi in 1885 and the Italian automobile manufacturer Autobianchi. The episode focuses on bicycles, tires, and the modern re-invention of the wheel. Bianchi and the birth of sports, tourism, and transportation. Below I have provided additional content to help you dive deeper into Episode 10 and help with your "homework" assigned at the end of the episode! Outline of Season 1 Episode 10: Edoardo Bianchi: Recreating the wheel: Bianchi’s bicycle and Dunlop’s pneumatic tire From telegraphic cables to transportation: Bianchi and Pirelli The bicycle debate and the birth of Italy’s mechanic industry A new idea of traveling: bicycles and the Touring Club Italiano Fashioning Italian Sports: La gazzetta dello sport and the Giro d’Italia Bicycles, Tires, Mechanic Industry, Touring Club, Sports, Giro d’Italia RE-INVENTING THE WHEEL… The invention of the wheel has always been regarded as the hallmark of innovation itself, and, since prehistoric times, wheels have been the main principle behind transportation (chariots), energy (mills), storage (pottery), or entertainment (toys of any sort). Wheels are still an essential element of our modern life, as the basic factor behind land or air transport (bicycles, cars, airplanes) and industrial machinery (global production and distribution). Despite their relation to a century-long heritage, modern wheels or tires have something different from their prehistoric ancestor. Two key events mark their origin and success. The first was in 1885, when the 20-year old Italian mechanic Edoardo Bianchi designed the safety bicycle, with lowered pedals and wheels of equal diameter. So the bicycle as we know it. The second was in 1888, when the Scottish engineer John B. Dunlop inflated rubber tires with air as a way to relieve his son’s headaches after riding his bicycle on bumpy roads. That was the invention of the pneumatic! In the following image, you can see the evolution of bicycles, from the early 19th century to the present. After a century of experimentation and innovations, Bianchi’s model of 1885 gave the bicycle its definitive form, which will be maintained until today. BIANCHI and PIRELLI After perfecting the bicycle, Bianchi rapidly understood the potential of the pneumatic tire and in 1890 signed the first commercial agreement with Pirelli, Italy’s greatest producer of rubber. Pirelli, who until then produced rubber as a key insulating material for telegraphic cables, reconverted its production to pneumatics, by releasing the tires Flexus for bicycles in 1897 and Ercole for cars in 1901. Bianchi implemented the production of bicycles and added two new lines: one of motorcycles in 1897, and one of automobiles in 1899 (the same year when Fiat was founded). The following ad (pictured left), on the cover of La rivista del Touring Club Italiano (June 1908), represents the partnership of the two brands, by visualizing Bianchi’s products (a bicycle and a car), and Pirelli’s tires as the necessary tools for touring an alpine space. A similar representation of bicycles and tires as indispensable tools for crossing space and conquering the road, even in the asperity of winter time, is reflected in Emilio Malerba’s cover for La rivista del Touring Club Italiano of December 1908 (pictured below). BIANCHI and the TOURING CLUB The Touring Club Ciclistico Italiano was founded in Milan in 1894 by Federico Johnson and Vittorio Bertarelli. The club saw cycling as a platform for establishing a bond among citizens, for offering them a living knowledge of Italy, for mapping the national territory, and for soliciting the construction of infrastructures, roads, tour guides, and hotels. Bianchi was a member of the Club and advertised its products on La rivista del Touring Club Italiano. In March 1908, Biancchi commissioned a cover to the painter Umberto Boccioni, who portrayed the bicycle in relation to glamour and femininity. BIANCHI and the GIRO d’ITALIA In 1896 Alberto Bonacossa founded the sports newspaper La gazzetta dello sport. La gazzetta would construct cycling as the first Italian sport and organize stage-races such as the Tour of Lombardy in 1905, and the Giro d’Italia in 1909. Bianchi was an early sponsor of bicycle races and, after the first success of Giovanni Tommaselli at the 1899 Gran Prix de la Ville in Paris, launched his team. The most famous racer of Bianchi’s team would be the “campionissimo” Fausto Coppi.

  • Episode 9: FRANCESCA CABRINI

    The subject of Episode 9 is Francesca Cabrini, also known as Mother Cabrini, who was an Italian-American religious sister, who founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Catholic religious institute that was a major support to the Italian immigrants to the United States. The episode also focuses on sanctity and Innovation. The story of the Italian nun who became the first American saint. Below I have provided additional content to help you dive deeper into Episode 9 and help with your "homework" assigned at the end of the episode! Outline of Season 1 Episode 9: FRANCESCA CABRINI: A people of saints, poets, and sailors Why is a saint an innovator? On a mission: from China to the United States Service to Italian emigrants Poverty and entrepreneurship Cabrini’s legacy today A PEOPLE OF SAILORS, POETS, AND SAINTS Italian sailors were in the forefront of the age of discoveries, but often at the service of other European powers (Spain, England, France). The age of Atlantic voyages reconfigured Italy’s role as a maritime power, turning the peninsula from a central place in the Mediterranean basin to a marginal land in the expanded horizon of the new world. “Italians” then did not colonize any territory in the New World (Italy did not become a political entity until the mid-19th century), yet the memory of Italian sailors is very much present in the geography of North and South America, not only in the naming of the continent after Amerigo Vespucci (who also named Venezuela as a little Venice), or several countries or cities after Christopher Columbus (Columbia, District of Columbia), but also in the naming of hospitals, schools, clubs, societies, or bridges after them. The most important bridge in New York is named after Giovanni da Verrazzano, and one of the two American universities in Rome is named after the Italian sailor John Cabot. Now that you know about them, it’s time to match names and faces… Of all Italian poets, Dante certainly remains the most recognizable in American culture. In the website “Dante Today” you will have a chance to explore citations & sightings of the poet’s imagination in contemporary culture. References to Inferno are in books, videogames, wines, and popular culture (don’t forget that the Inferno is only one third of the Divine Comedy!) In case you are looking for a reading recommendation, my favorite Dante-based book is the thriller “The Dante Club” by Matthew Pearl. Italian saints are numerous. Italy’s patron saints are Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Catherine of Siena. Many schools and American institutions are named after Italian saints, like Charles Borromeo, Aloytius Gonzaga, John Bosco, Angelo Roncalli (Pope John XXIII), Giovanni Battista Montini (Pope Paul VI), or Gianna Beretta Molla. Moreover, many major saints in Christianity have their tombs in Italy: Peter, Paul (Rome), the evangelists Mark (Venice) and Luke (Padua), Ambrose (Milan), Augustine (Pavia), Nicholas (Bari), and Benedict (Monte Cassino, where the famous WWII battle took place). FROM CODOGNO TO NEW YORK (1850-1889) Francesca Cabrini was born and raised in Sant’Angelo Lodigiano, in the Northern region of Lombardy. After becoming a nun, she joined the religious congregation of the Daughters of the Sacred Heart in the nearby city of Codogno. Fascinated by the Jesuit saint Francis Xavier, Mother Frances Cabrini added Saverio to her own name, and, in his imitation, asked the Pope Leo XIII to be sent as a missionary to China. At the time of Italy’s Great Emigration, however Pope Leo XIII asked her to care about the material and spiritual wellbeing of Italian migrants to the United States. In March of 1889, she left for New York City in the company of 7 other nuns of her order, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. FROM NEW YORK TO THE WORLD (1889-1917) Cabrini lived in the United States from 1889 until her death in 1917 and travelled constantly across the North and South American continents. As she arrived in New York City, she opened an orphanage in Upper Manhattan, and gathered resources to found the opening of the Columbus Hospital in New York in 1892. A few years later, thanks to her entrepreneurship and fundraising ability, she would even open its extension in the Italian neighborhood of Chicago. Her sisters served Italians wherever they were found and moved, from New Orleans (where a group of Sicilians had been lynched in 1891), to the mines of Colorado and the railroads of California. With extraordinary faith and business acumen, Cabrini founded schools and hospitals for the service of Italian emigrants, and new religious houses in New Orleans, Colorado, Seattle, Chicago, California, and Philadelphia. You can read more about her life at this link. CABRINI’S LEGACY (1917- TODAY) Francesca Cabrini would never go to China as she desired, even though her Missionary Sister went for her after her death. Her worldwide fame grew so much that people continued to call her just “mother” Cabrini, even after her beatification in 1938 and canonization in 1946. In 1950, she was named Patroness of Immigrants. In 1957, Cabrini College was founded in her honor in Radnor, Pennsylvania. In 1996, Mother Cabrini was inducted in the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her contributions and her work. Her body is conserved in the Cabrini Shrine of Washington Heights in New York City, a site run by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In 2017, a movie was released on Mother Cabrini, entitled Frances Xavier Cabrini: The People’s Saint. Here is the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KoTXo4yUzp0

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  • @italyinphilly lectures | Italian Innovators

    Home About Innovators Interviews Lessons The Creator & Host The Project @italyinphilly lectures More Coming up on May 6, 2021, 11:30am EST Lecture #4. The Facing Autobiographies of Fellini and Calvino The event is free and open to the public REGISTER HERE

  • Home | Italian Innovators

    Home About Innovators Interviews Lessons The Creator & Host The Project @italyinphilly lectures More Release schedule: # Innovators (1st + podcast); # ItalianAges (7th); # Interviews (15th + podcast); # ItalianModernities (21st) New Episode ​ Filippo De Cecco Innovation as perfection in pasta-making ​ WATCH NOW ​ A YouTube show exploring the Italian way to innovation through presentations, interviews, and lessons. For academics, professionals, students, and lovers of Italian culture and industry. Trailer of the show A presentation of Italian Innovators (themes, audience, story) Upcoming lecture - May 6 @Italyinphilly lectures #Innovators Presentations of innovative figures in design, fashion, technology, music, food #Interviews Interviews to prominent academics, professionals or entrepreneurs #ItalianAges Lessons of Italian Cultural History from the Middle Ages to the present #ItalianModernities Lessons on the history of Italian modernity ©Italian Innovators 2018 SUBSCRIBE to the channel or JOIN the newsletter Join CREATOR & HOST Luca Cottini CONTACT luca@italianinnovators.com Discover Italy's Contribution to Modern Arts, Fashion, Business, Design, and Technology With the patronage of the Consulate General of Italy in Philadelphia

  • Innovators

    Episodes Home About Innovators Interviews Lessons The Creator & Host The Project @italyinphilly lectures More #Innovators (1st of each month - YouTube & Podcast) Captions in English for all / sottotitoli in italiano ​ Presentations of innovative figures in contemporary Italian culture & business Season 3 FILIPPO DE CECCO Innovation as perfection in pasta-making LAURA BIAGIOTTI The living spring of creativity SILVIO GAZZANIGA The shape of victory MARIA CANDIDA GENTILE What's in a scent? UMBERTO PANINI The Italian Culture of 'Figurine' ARTURO TOSCANINI The Magic of Conducting BATTISTA & SERGIO PININFARINA The Elegance of Innovation FABIOLA GIANOTTI The Aesthetic Creativity of Science LEONE JACOVACCI The Wise Audacity of Fighting ​ Season 2 WALTER BONATTI The Pursuit of the Impossible BRUNELLO CUCINELLI Philosophizing Fashion. On Business, Culture, and Ethics. SAMANTHA CRISTOFORETTI A Woman Astronaut and Our Endless Quest for the Moon FERRUCCIO LAMBORGHINI The Spirit of Competition ENNIO MORRICONE The Craft of Sound MARGHERITA GUARDUCCI The Italian Female Archaeologist who located the Tomb of Saint Peter MASSIMO BOTTURA On the Italian Art of Cooking CORRADINO D’ASCANIO The designer of Vespa and the inventor of helicopters GAE AULENTI The Female star of Italian Architecture MICHELE FERRERO Chocolate dialogues. How Nutella turned from a sweet spread into a cultural icon ARMANDO CIMOLAI The Italian mastery of matter. Why Italy, yes Italy, is a global leader in the export of steel MILENA CANONERO The costume designer of Hollywood. About fashion, cinema, and the Italian sartorial imagination Season 1 LEOPOLDO & VITTORIO ALINARI The founding fathers of Italian photography. How Florence became the city of photographers, and why its photographic archives matter. CAMILLO & ADRIANO OLIVETTI The origins of computing. The Avant-garde of design. What does an Italian Typewriter have to do with your Mac? EDOARDO BIANCHI Bicycles, tires, and the modern re-invention of the wheel. Bianchi and the birth of sports, tourism, and transportation. FRANCESCA CABRINI About sanctity and Innovation. The story of the Italian nun who became the first American saint. MARIA MONTESSORI Educating creativity and self-mastery. How Italians made it into American schools. ALFONSO BIALETTI Italy’s love affair with coffee. Espresso making and creative thinking in Bialetti’s moka. DAVIDE CAMPARI Milano, the aperitivo, and the art of cocktail. GUGLIELMO MARCONI From the bold dreams of an Italian scientist to global broadcasting. Radio & the creation of a simultaneous world. ENZO FERRARI The myth of racing in a country of ancient ruins. ELSA SCHIAPARELLI Pioneering fashion design as an art. How Italy made it into the fashion industry. ENRICO CARUSO & GIULIO RICORDI How the greatest Italian tenor and the most renowned Italian publisher of musical scores made Italian opera known throughout the world. SENATORE BORLETTI How the first producer of Italian clocks became the hand behind the high end department store La Rinascente and Italy’s leading publishing house Mondadori

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