�Recovering and preserving our history is one of the key values of Italgas’s corporate culture. Researching the documentation of our past and making it available to the public and to scholars is not just important to support our desire to tell the company’s story, but also from the wish to go through the stages of the country’s historical, social and technological development through the Archives and the Museum.
The Historical Archive now has its dedicated exhibit area. The Italgas Museum was initially set up in 1994 and was designed to illustrate the history of gas and of its uses. A path that starts from when gas was produced by distilling coal until the advent of natural gas, passing through its many uses: for lighting, heating, and for cooking food.
In 2008 the Historical Museum was transferred to the Turin headquarters of the Company, in Largo Regio Parco. The exhibition and narrative path has been enriched with multimedia and interactive elements designed primarily for student audiences.
The collections, dating from the middle of the nineteenth century to the present day, range from precision instruments of scientific laboratories to technical equipment, to objects that have characterized the history of lighting and heating. Would you like like to visit the Museum? Fill out the form.
The Historical Library is highly specialized, and includes volumes dating from the seventeenth to the twentieth century, about the history and technology of gas, both manufactured and natural. It includes a precious part on the early experiments of the late eighteenth century, as well as many and important texts of chemistry and physics, and popular publications. A section is dedicated to the history and technology of lighting and heating.
The Library was created in 1984, and was made up of a core group of 300 works on the gas industry. It now has about 5,000 books and Italian and foreign periodicals that have been found on the international antiquities market, retrieved from company archives, and donated.
The Historical Library holds some rare works that document the early theoretical and practical applications of the gas and methane industries.
The newspaper library
The two newspaper libraries include specialized periodicals on the industry of gas, oil and natural gas, and hundreds of volumes of no less than 40 national and international periodicals, from the 1930s to the 1960s. It also hosts various legal periodicals and collections of publications on the history of the city of Turin.
The Historical Archive
The Historical Archive of Italgas includes over 1,000 linear meters of documents, 6,000 books, booklets and magazines, 35,000 prints, photographs and posters, 350 vintage instruments and equipment, that chronicle a technological revolution that has helped change the face of Italy.
The first project to recover and reorganize document archives started in the early eighties and included an exhibit area and a historic library. The initiative was spurred by the practical desire to make this remarkable documentary heritage available to scholars, also in view of the celebrations of 150 years of history that the company was to celebrate a few years later.
The initial core consisted of documents dating from the mid-nineteenth century to 1967, the year Italgas became a part of Eni.
The extent of the historical archive and of part of the collection, considering parts lost during moves among various locations and due to the war events, is initially assessed as around one kilometre of documents. The document categories that have been found and reorganized include company records of its subsidiaries, administrative documents, material from the legal department, staff lists and summaries of photographic and audiovisual documentation.
Of the work done by the group in charge of tracing and analysing the material, we have part of the notes, the analytical and summary paper inventories, the draft waste list and the research work. All the operations have been supervised by the Archival Superintendency for Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta, who in 1986 decreed that the Italgas Historical Archives were of “Remarkable historic interest”. Do you want to request access to the Historical Archive? Fill out the form.
An archive over 3,000 linear meters
The final organization of the complete core of the Historical Archives and the listing and the partial indexing of the archive storage actually started in June 2008. According to the latest estimate, the extent of the historical archive and stored material is over 3,000 linear meters.
While examining inventories of the historical archives and the lists of stored material, and with the help of new supplementary instruments discovered recently, action was taken to find the missing documents and to fill in the chronological documentary gaps that had been identified.
The historical archives currently consist of 4 main parts. The integrations of historical core and of the stored material, which occur regularly, are sometimes surprising both for the importance of the documents, and for the ways and places they are discovered.
The main core
The core of the company’s documentation collection includes the documents of the corporate bodies: the Board of Directors, the Statutory Board of Auditors, the Supervisory Committees, the Administrative and Management Committees of Italgas and of most of its subsidiaries and affiliates. Among them, particularly worthy of mention are Cokitalia which was set up under the Frassati chairmanship jointly with Montecatini, CLEDCA, the Brazilian Pibigas, Siry Chamon, Camuzzi Gas, Società Toscana Aziende Gas, Veneta industrie Gas and Romana Gas, the London-based Tuscan gas and Robertshaw Italiana (a company that produced valves that was created together with its American headquarters under the Frassati chairmanship). The collection also includes some series of documents of the oldest companies that merged into Italgas, including the Società Piemontese per l’Illuminazione a Gas di Torino and the Società anonima dei Consumatori di Gaz-Luce.
The administrative documents
Besides the series described above, the collection includes the documents of Shareholders’ Meetings and from the Offices of CEOs, Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen that can currently be made public. The document collections, which are sometimes not complete, range from the late 1940s to the 1990s. The most comprehensive collection of Chairman’s Office’s documents are those of the period in which Carlo Da Molo was leading the Company. The better preserved archives are those of the administrative, commercial, technical, real estate, and development departments, and also the documents of the administration, legal, financial and fiscal, human resources, technical and construction, real estate, external and staff relations and research, and design areas. These archives contain material dated from the end of the nineteenth century to the 1990s of the twentieth century.
The archives of executives
A particular aspect of the organization of the archive documentation is given by the archives of executives: the documentation produced by Chairmen, Deputy Chairmen and CEOs during their tenures at the company. Among the 12 archives in the collection, the most noteworthy are those of Michelangelo Böhm (1867-1944) and his son Arrigo, technical office manager and consultant; of Renato Cerutti, technical office manager and avid researcher of the history of Gas Companies; of Crescentino Rampone (1886-1957), a former auditor of the Società Idroelettrica Piemontese, Director and General Manager of Italgas from 1931 to 1944, and later Deputy Chairman; of Ferdinando Borelli (1922-2007), Director of the Real Estate Division; of Gennaro Pettorossi, Deputy Chairman and CEO; of Isidoro Bonini (1899-1955), Director and General Manager; of Umberto Broggi (1891-1967), Director, General Manager, Deputy Chairman and member of the Executive Committee.
The Sales archive
The documents of Mario Sales (1910-2006) are particularly significant. He was initially General Technical Director and later a consultant: his archive includes about 800 binders, and not only attests to the remarkable commitment and professionalism of one of the “historic” managers of the company, but also sheds light on the perfect structure, substantially free of shortcomings, of one of the pivotal areas of the company’s business. Within the Sales archive, particularly notable are the paperwork of the technical department, the reports on the structure and operations of all the workrooms located throughout Italy, the documents of professional training courses for the workers and the rich documentation – papers, reports, photos, publications – regarding national and international institutions of the gas industry of which the Company was a member (GERG – European Gas Research Group; UIIG – International Union of Gas Industries; COMETEC GAS – Committee for Economic Studies of the Gas Industry; ANIG – National Association of the Gas Industries; CIG – Italian Gas Committee; MARCOGAZ – Technical Association of European Natural Gas Industry).
The photographic, audiovisual and drawings archives
The photographic collection contains around 30,000 items that show the structure of the workrooms, the processing methods used, the company’s buildings, gas tanks and various celebrations. The assets also include the exhaustive documentation of the Real Estate office which has not yet been fully organized. The photographic collection has not been inventoried. Also, only approximate lists have been found of a fraction of the documents to be used for publications on the history of Italgas. An initial cataloguing process is taking place to highlight all the thematic areas and preserve the documents, among which some sets of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century photographs of exquisite beauty and historical interest have been found. The collection of drawings, maps and floor plans contains thousands of items. Only a summary list of several hundred documents of this archive has been found. The audiovisual archive comprises both several dozen films in various formats (mostly 16 mm) in good condition, and some audio tapes. The filing and reorganization process will document the content and technical details of each film and audio tape, reporting any need to restore it or recover it digitally.