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explosives factory / Spilamberto / 1901 - 1995 / 2007, 2008


On this site a black powder factory used to be active since the 16th century, established by Duke Alfonso I d'Este. A couple of centuries later, during the Napoleonic age, the factory was enlarged and updated. A tremendous explosion devastated the site in 1861, which never went back in operation. Things changed in 1901, when the area was bought by the explosives manufacturing company SIPE-Società Italiana Prodotti Esplodenti - through a joint-venture with Società Italiana Dinamite Nobel. The factory was completely rebuilt and set up to host nitroglycerin and ballistite productions. After the positive developments given by the First World War the factory knew a period of significant growth in 1930s. The number of employees, in fact, increased tenfold between 1930 and 1939, reaching the peak of 3000 at the threshold of the war. In 1941 naval bombs began to be assembled. Heavily damaged in 1943-44, the factory was then restored and reconverted to dynamite manufacturing. The latter was replaced by nitrocellulose after 1973, the year in which SIPE was taken over by SNIA Viscosa group. Finally, in 1992 the site was sold to the French SNPE-Société Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs. Only three years later the factory was closed.