Giulio Fiocchi (1851 – 1916)
The events of the “Fiocchi di Lecco” family are intimately linked to those of the company founded by the founder Giulio senior in the mid-seventies of the nineteenth century and can be considered emblematic of the economic and social ascent of the Lombard business bourgeoisie in those years.
In 1876, however, Giulio decided to start his own business, taking over the “Micheloni e C.” company from Lecco, in association with the merchant Eugenio Ferrari, with whom he gave life to the “Giulio Fiocchi”, equipping it with a capital of £. 40,000, paid in equal parts by the two partners. Shortly thereafter Giuseppe Nappi, a brother-in-law of Lavinia Testa, entered the company, who had also provided Giulio Fiocchi with a portion of the money needed to start the business.
On April 25, 1878, the company was transformed into a limited partnership under the name “Fiocchi e C.”, still based in Lecco, to which, in addition to Eugenio Ferrari and Giuseppe Nappi, two new members also joined: Count Pietro Sormani Andreani and the Turin dealer Luigi Giocosa, while Giulio Fiocchi and his brother Giacomo assumed the office of responsible managers. The production activity, initially concentrated on the manufacture of weapons and ammunition, was integrated by the processing of the pyrical powder, for which it was necessary to acquire a fund on which to build a special laboratory in “Castello sopra Lecco” (1885). In the same years the company underwent a further change: Giulio Fiocchi managed to liquidate the shareholders, becoming the sole owner of the factory; his brother Giacomo, however, moved to Sicily where he became manager of the “Italian Privileged Company for the fusion and trade of sulfur”, under the reason “Giacomo Fiocchi & C.”
Having definitively assured the company’s leadership, Giulio Fiocchi could concentrate on its further development, with the targeted purchase of funds and buildings in the municipalities of “Castello sopra Lecco” and Maggianico (“ai Cantarelli”, “al Caroncino”, Gaggianico and Belledo) , and with the diversification of production, which, starting from 1903, went to include the manufacture of the automatic buttons, made with the scraps of the processing of brass cases.
The company, transformed into a de facto company, was in effect jointly managed for a few years by Piero Angelo and Carlo, with the help of Eugenio Ceppi and Francesco Gattini, also obtaining, during the conflict, the recognition of an auxiliary plant (24 December 1916), for which he obtained important military orders, destined to cease with the conclusion of the war operations, with a consequent sharp contraction of the productive activity.
On July 12, 1932, the “Società Anonima Giulio Fiocchi” was established, whose share capital, ascending to £. 60,000 was divided into 600 shares worth £. 100 each, registered in equal parts to the six Fiocchi brothers, all admitted to the board of directors. The office of President was assumed by Carlo Fiocchi, while Piero Angelo and Lodovico were appointed as delegated advisors. The company continued its activities of production of weapons and ammunition, of automatic buttons and machines “interesting social productions”.
In 1933 the “S. A. Giulio Fiocchi” also absorbed the de facto company “Giulio Fiocchi”, which had continued to exist; the same year the cartridges and charges departments of the S.AS. “Piloni Bernardo” in partnership with S.A.S. “Léon Beaux and C.” from Milan. The difficult conjuncture of the thirties, characterized by the strong growth in the cost of raw materials, the depreciation of the lira and the self-imposed address imposed on the economy, also deeply affected the company’s performance, which also had to cope with the sudden death of Lodovico Fiocchi, who died on December 13, 1936 in a car accident. In fact, a new decisive growth was recorded only during the Second World War, with the direct involvement of the company in the program of war supplies to the state. In 1942, the family and the company suffered another serious mourning with the disappearance of Piero Angelo Fiocchi, which took place on 13 August.
The evolution of the conflict inevitably also involved the company Fiocchi, subjected in the autumn of 1943 to the control of the German military authority, with the requisition of the Belledo plant, while Carlo and Giulio Fiocchi approached the Resistance circles, trying to slow down the production capacity of the factory, obtaining the exemption of the workers from the call to arms and facilitating the supply of weapons to the partisans.
Giulio Fiocchi, accused of anti-fascist and anti-German behavior, was arrested by the SS in Bellagio in 1943 and taken to the S. Agata prison in Bergamo and from there transferred to the Re-education House (Zuchthaus) in Kaisheim in Dunauwörth in Lower Bavaria ,