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A Brief History For One Of The Oldest Mills In Italy 

2013 marked the 350th anniversary of the company’s wool mill activities, permitting it to become a member of Les Hénokiens, an international association that brings together family-run companies that have been active for at least two centuries. Vitale Barberis Canonico continues to remain true to its origins and, by creatively renewing itself over time, never stops drawing inspiration from its historical archive, a distillation of excellence that inspires the company’s present and future.

 

The origin of this mill dates back to the High Renaissance Era. 

There is an ancient document kept under secrecy in the archives of Vitale Barberis Canonic which is called “quinternetto delle taglie” meaning ‘small five page list of sizes’ and is a manifesto of a sizing options for their fabric ranges. It is considered to be a priceless Barberis Canonico family heirloom because it verifies the first ever known purchase that the the textile mill completed. The transaction was made in 1663. It was made by Ajmo Barbero for the Duke of Savoia and showcases their wool mills activities, highlighting a coveted dyeing process that is still the envy of mills to this day.

 

Adapting to the Industrial Revolution brings new opportunities.

As the rise of the factory saw automation enter in almost every part of the labor process, industries from metal working to even textiles had forever changed. From the 1850s to the 1880s, the owners of Vitale Barberis Canonico championed this new age, bringing in new machines to help speed the weaving processes with precision and efficiency. They collaborated with another mill already automated known as Marizio Sella company, and they installed new frames and spindles bringing the total number to 800 frames and 73 spindles.

With the addition of new mechanical frames and spindles they increased production and opened another factory to accommodate the growth. Before the first machine arrived in 1868, they were doing all of the processes from combing to weaving and dying, all by hand under one roof. After the advent of electricity, the owner at the time, Giuseppe Barberis Canonico, implemented the latest frames in 1890 to mark their first full-cycle production site done affectionately at their original Priatrivero factory.

With more sales comes more factories and more exports. 

By 1921, Vitale Barberis Canonico was experiencing a burgeoning increase in sales that forced them to expand once more. To keep up with the growing demand, the Barberis Canonico family commissioned two new factories in the Pritrevero region. These immense steps forward brought them great prestige and allowed them to expand their shipping capabilities to not just all of Europe but to the Americas, British India, and even China.

Within a short period during the 50s, Vitale Barberis Canonico more than doubled their sales due to their improved quality. This occured around the same times as Italy’s “economic miracle” and brought VBC nearly half a billion lira in revenue. Shortly after, Vitale’s sons Alberto and Luciano transformed the business, focusing on advanced technical operations and increasing exports to make it a highlight of the company’s exceptional capabilities. This immortalized the brand and ensured they would service clients from all over the world. 

Today, they uphold this legacy with the highest honor. You can visit our storefront to look through all of Vitale Barberis Canonico’s fabric ranges and make a custom garment from this illustrious mill with Festari for Men!