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G.B.Borsalino Fu Lazzaro & C. Prospectus


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G.B.Borsalino Fu Lazzaro & C. prospectus (Italian, French, English, German, Spanish) from the Gotisches Haus (Gothic House) Bad Homburg , Germany collection, very early 1900s, very late 1800s. This is a long post but definitely worth taking a look at. Click on photos to expand. 










(left) Trim Department (1896?)  (right) Dynamo 



(left) Boilers (right) Boilers 



(left) Receivables (right top) Hair Sorting  (right bottom) Cone Forming



(left) Mechanical Fulling  (right)  Manual Fulling


THE name of Alexandria. the ancient and industrious piedmentese town. is today deservedly. all over the world synonymous for ,,, fine felt hat ,, just as Malines and Valenciennes are for lace. Faience for crockery. Sevres and Delft for porcelain-ware. the Havana for cigars. Panama and Manilla for straw hats, Tolede for blades, Smyrne for carpets. Astrakhan for skins and so on. 


The felt hats industry has certainly become. with the spreading of comfort and elegance, with the continuous varying of the mode, one of the hardest and delicatest, wherever it wants not only to follow the changing of taste, but also to dominate and direct it and wherever the industry is not compelled to limit its field of action to the preferences of only a people (which preferences are often due to special conditions of use and climate), but to enlarge them as to comprehend and satisfy all modern exigences. 


An old tradition in the felt hats industry has brought up in Alexandria the most skilled workmanship in each one of the various operations (from the very humblest to the most difficult one) through which the hair passes to become felt, and the felt to be molded in a hat: there exists among the Alexandrine workman-ship, an experience almost hereditary. transmit-ted from father to son, which has educated the eye and the hand at such a degree as to give the industry a coefficient of a inestimable value. 


To such a workmanship, so much capable h their own skillfulness and by tradition, it must be added the truly powerful organic-




(left) Felt Warehouse (right) Dyeing Department


tion created for the best exploitation of these qualities and conditions by the firm G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. It is enough to say that a particular group of workmen attends to every one of the 45 operations that hats must pass through; as they perform only a operation and always the same, these workmen are beco-ming specialized in a truly perfect way. Each group of workmen have their own chief. who oversees uninterruptedly their work and this accounts for a product completely free from faults, even the slightest ones. To all that it must also be added the fact, that by means of the processes used in the G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. factory it is possible to obtain the lastingness and the immutability of form and colour. two qualities greatly appreciated by customers and forming one of the specialties of the firm. The weather and the long wearing do not have a influence whatever on G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. hats which claims to a lastingness superior to every other product of this kind. 


To give an idea of the industrial organization of the factory some data are sufficient: the capital amounts-tor the time being-to 3.500.000 francs: the grounds on which the work is carried on, cover an area of 39.000 square feet and the various building have two, three or four stories. according the necessity, to the end of keeping the various departments in a logical relation between them: tow clerks and workmen are employed in the factory: 7 enormous boilers provides steam for two engines of 550 HP




(left) First Section Hat Body Stretching and Blocking (right) Second Section Hat Body Stretching and Blocking


necessary for certain operations; 4 dynamos generate electric power for illuminating purposes. There are also 35 electric motors, gasworks for lighting and heating and so on. The factory examined in its details is really imposing: from the large stores where the raw material is kept, one comes down to the department where the hair is blown by ten blowing-machines works to depurate the raw material from dust and other impurities. The forming is executed by forming machines, the planking by other machines: for the dyeing of hats a special plant is provided for, which with its chemists, with its distilling apparatus, its boilers and other machines should be sufficient to give life to a special industry. And in the departments where the felt begins to take shape, different machines work, the ones proofing, the others drying by centrifugal power: hot sand presses are used to give shape. But before the hat may be called by its name, it must pass through the pouncing, finishing and polishing machines: hydraulic presses are perpetually working. Only to obtain the brim of the bowl hats several machines have to be used and many other machines are employed to curl the soft hats and to make the trimmings on which great care is bestowed. 


This rapid survey through the, laboratories speaks, by the eloquence of the data exposed, of the complexity and importance which the hats industry has attained.  When it is thought that a really hat must pass through 45 operations, it will he understood how a article which

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(left) Pouncing (right) Refinement


requires so large an employment of work and so large a concourse of very perfection machines, cannot be compared with ordinary current product. And as matter of fact the firm G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co do not produce hats to them in stock, but only by order. The firm, tries the most it is possible to meet the consumers own requirements through the sellers agency. 


As soon as orders come to the factory they are sent from the managing office to the technical department and they follow the hat through its different phases returning with it to the packing department after a period of elaboration which is to last for about one month. The hat is absolutely of the quality, shape and color the consumer requires in his order.


With a daily output of 2000 hats (and which very soon will be 3000) it is easily understood what a perfect organization is necessary to enable the firm to undertake, in every case, the responsibility of their own production.  To this effort, to have and give every guarantee as to the quality, the work and the consignment the firm provide by their own means to all their necessity. The raw materials are bought directly from the best providers. This happens for the hair, the dyeing matters, the trimmings, the ribbons, the Moroccan leather, the silk for the lining of the hats.  But through purchasing the raw material elsewhere the firm G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. provide entirely of their own to elaboration of it.


The hair arrives to the factory from the 



(left top) Hydraulic Presses (left bottom) Brim Flange Department (right top) Preparation of Moroccan Leather (right bottom) Edge Binding

biggest english producers and it is of the finest and rarest quality. The same thing may be said as to the silk, the morocco leather and the many other accessories which concur in giving a hat smartness and durability. The factory contains 

(left) Cutting Liners (right) Stamping Moroccan Leather Sweatbands


even a large printing laboratory for the silk lining and the leather.
But this is not all: when the hat is finished. before going to the forwarding department. it must pass through a fresh an severe test. Every detail is examined afresh and when some slight default or imperfection is noticed (that customers would not even suspect) the hat is sacrificed without delay.
But even a good product would not satisfy, if the factory did not know how to meet the customers ever increasing exigencies as to the type and the taste. The firm G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. firm having to their disposal a great number of persons who have always been working to produce hats, who know by their own experience how fashion changes, and the different exigencies and preferences of all peoples and countries, has been enabled to choose from among them the very best ones for intelligence and taste and entrust them the study of the types. The information gathered by the firm's own travelers, the instructions given by the customers to the hatters spread all over world, a thoroughly examination of the fashion papers are the elements used by our experts to create the types for the year or the season. A big collection formed by all types made in the past years, serves to give a sure rule for the new ones which are to be issued.
These conditions being given, a factory can, by its own influence, determinate the fashion and give the customers a guarantee of an up-to-date smartness.


(left) Sample Department (right) Packaging


This may explain why the G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. hats are now exported from Italy all over the world.
The demand for our hats every day increasing, because the retailers have had the opportunity for appreciating the goodness of the rules followed by a factory which working, as it does, according the orders it receives, intends to produce hats really matching the requirements and interpreting not only every wish and peculiar taste but even the strangest requests from customers.
The photos accompanying this short report will testify of the importance of the Alexandria factory: but something must be added to demonstrate the seriousness which inspires its organization.
Because, as we said before, the factory wants to suffice to itself and to guarantee its production against every inconvenience, so the firm has their own carpenter and joiner works where hat blocks and packing cases are Made; there an mechanical works for repairing the machines; a technical office under an engineer devoted to the study of improvements: an a big department furnished with a special machinery for the production of pasteboard goods  of every  description; packing cases, hat-boxes, card board rolls to protect hats from crushing or deforming while travelling to their destination.
But a special remark deserves the skilled workmanship employed by the firm and which constitutes a body of workmen very different from the average workman of today, of nomad

(left) Exhibitions Department (right) Box & Crate Production Section 1


habits and not at all tied to its industry by the bonds of sentiment or of a peculiar interest. The G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co. skilled workmen are united to the firm by a labour contract and by several bonds which originate a lasting cordiality of relations and a reciprocity of interest, which must necessarily exert a good influence on the production. 
The labor contract in existence between the firm and the workmen's body is up today unique in Italy; it contains the rules for the enlistment and the dismissal of men; for the ordinary, the extraordinary work and the days of rest. As to disciplinary matter, the contract does not sanction fines but it renders the workmen delegates judges of every fault. Every possibility of strikes is eliminated by a clause obliging the contracting parts to refer their disputes to an arbitration court. 
The firm provides to the comfort and the sanitary needs of their workmen by means of various institutions: a doctor is always on duty at the factory for every convenience; there is. a special creche for work women's babies; a providence fund for illness; a fund for old age pensions.
But what is more important and contributes to guarantee the staffs attachment to the firm, their taking interest in the industry, in its progresses and in its success, is the partaking of the profits and the fact that a notable number of shares belongs to the staff. The firm G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & 


(left) Box & Crate Production Section 2 (right) Carpentry Workshop


Co. have thought convenient of making known what is above said to all their customers from every part of the world, so that on learning of what an organization of indefatigable studies, of laborious energies and sacrifices the hat they get is the result - they may ever more be persuaded how it deserves all their preferences.
The mark G. B. Borsalino fu Lazzaro & Co is already well known all over the world; it is by itself a guarantee of a product which one could not wish the better; it is moreover ensign of that seriousness of purposes which alone can give a production keeping itself year by year, though confronted by concurrence of every kind, to a degree never attained in such a short space of time; and improvements are continually looked for, so that yesterday perfection has become the highest perfection of today.



(left top) Mechanics Workshop  (left bottom) New Construction




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