Who were the people behind F.G.B.C.?
(Published, Dec. 24, 2015)
“F.G.B.C.” produced and sold many sharpening stones,… for example:
“pierre La Lune”, “Special Stone only for Good Razors”, “New Master Stone”, …
This article (split up into different chapters) reveals the history behind the company
- “F.G.B.C., Introduction”
- “Ghelfi family”
- “Birolleau family”
- “Demosthènes, Malaspinas”
- “Bardotti, Giovannacci”
- “L. Belle”
- “Zanarelli, Galtié”
- “Short detailed chronology” & “In conclusion”
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Who were the people behind “F.G.B.C.”
Monument of traveling sellers of books,
sharpening stones,… (Montereggio, Lunigiana)
(courtesy of Sebastian, razorlovestones.wordpress)
Emigration from Lunigiana to France
At the beginning of the 19th century, many young, poor people of
Montereggio and Parana, two small districts of Mulazzo, Lunigiana,
left their families to reach for places where there was a demand for
seasonal agricultural labor. For many years, Brescia in the spring and
Corsica in the fall were preferred places by people of Lunigiana. In
the winter they returned to their homes. However, the extra demand
for agricultural labor in Brescia was short-lived because of the
silk crisis in the 1830s’. Many were left without work which
forced them to find a new profession.
Sharpening stones were almost unknown in Lunigiana, so it seems
strange that their choice fell on selling these as a new profession.
The reason was that sharpening stones were customary in Brescia,
where there was also a large production of edged weapons and tools.
This is how the laborers of Lunigiana turned into stones sellers, and began their
wanderings, first in Lombardy, then in Piedmont and finally to France.
In 1837, Andrea Bardotti of Parana went to Piedmont, accompanied with
a boy, “in order to teach him to sell”, from Piedmont he went to France.
As another example, two men from Montereggio came to
France, in 1839 Giuseppe Maucci, a “razor stone” seller, and in
1840 Carlo Giovannacci, a seller of “stones” and other things.
In 1850, a statement of the mayor of Mulazzo describes
Giovan Battista Tarantola, from Montereggio, as being
a “person of good conduct, without possessions, finding
pleasure to go into the world, selling razor stones and songs”
There are data from 23 November 1854 where a visa,
valid for three months, “to freely circulate in the Parmesan”
was given to Maucci Sante of Montereggio, by profession
“Farmer, dentist, seller of stones, even books.”
These and other examples make clear that many
families got involved in selling stones, books,…
Important families in the business were: Fogola, Tarantola, Lorgna,
Giovannacci, Lazzarelli, Maucci, Genarelli, Ghelfi, Bardotti and Bertoni.
Records show that around the 1850-60s’, the emigrating sellers from
Lunigiana were more and more book sellers, and less stone sellers.
In 1858 there were about 850 people in Montereggio and Parana, 71 of
them were well around the world to sell books, they also went further.
On 17 March 1859, Tarantola Francesco of Montereggio, seller of stones
and books, was given a visa for “definitely and freely pass” to
foreign Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland.
The “Register of Emigrants of Mulazzo” in 1858 mention six persons who only
sold books, Bardotti Nicola, Ghelfi Giovanni, Tarantola Francesco Antonio,
Giovannacci Lazzaro, Donnini Alessandro and Giovanni.
There were also 65 sellers of both stones & books of which there were
9 Ghelfi, 8 Lazzarelli, 6 Lorenzelli, 5 Giovannacci, 4 Maucci, 4 Tarantola,
2 Biasini, 2 Fogola, 2 Paolozzi, 2 Gatti and, one of each of the families:
Batilla, Bardotti, Biagini, Cattoni, Capetta, Caniffi, Fedespina, Galleri,
Giorgini, Lorgna, Mancini, Macciardi, Marchetti, Micheloni, Michelotti,
Pappini, Rinfreschi, Tomasinelli, Torri, Zanarelli and Zappellini
On this list there was also a family Bertoni, who were vendors of stones…
Next chapters are a detailed chronology of persons and events, associated with “F.G.B.C”
(for a really short one, please see the last chapter )
All references are formulated as follows:
First, the webpage that provided the source, then the name of
the archive/book, each (when possible) with its according link.
Next, the quoted reference (framed), and finally a link to the specific page of each reference.
The URLs (http://) aren’t cited fully because of the length of some URLs, which would distract greatly.
The URL of each link, also the ones attached to certain names in this article, can be seen by moving the pointer/mouse cursor onto the link/name; when waiting a second, the specific URL will pop-up.
The attached webpage can be opened, in a new tab, by clicking each link.
All links in this article are last consulted by me on 1 December 2015.
⇒ Next chapter: “Ghelfi family”