Who were the people behind F.G.B.C…?
(written by Jethro aka Fikira, historyrazors.wordpress.com)
“F.G.B.C.” produced & 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”
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 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 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 also were 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…
(ref.: I librai pontremolesi. Storia esemplare di un mestiere meraviglioso di Gian Battista Martinelli, Prima edizione: novembre 2014 Link)
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 content and images used on this text are owned or have
been licensed to be used by Fikira and are
for use on these websites only.
Any duplication, processing, distribution or any form of utilisation beyond the scope of copyright law shall require the prior written consent of the author or authors in question.
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 webpage can be opened, in a new tab, by clicking each link.
All links in this article are last consulted by me on 1 Dec. 2015.
⇒ Next chapter: “Ghelfi family”