The history of the German company, fixing system specialist, which in 1962 came under entirely Italian management
Fixing systems for the construction world, with a range of the most complete and specialized products at an international level: in 2012 Bossong celebrates its fiftieth year of activity; a corporate history of research and innovation, which has made a fundamental contribution to the construction world.
This anniversary is an occasion to remember its history, which began in the Thirties in Bavaria and then Düsseldorf and underwent a significant evolution which then brought it to Italy (1962), where the company expanded production with the most modern solutions in the fields of mechanical fixing and chemical anchoring.
Karl Bossong founds Bossong–Werk GmbH
It was in Germany in the Thirties when Karl Bossong, in Bavaria, founded Bossong–Werk GmbH, a factory specializing in the production of components for the automobile sector, which then moved in 1944 to Lintorf (near Düsseldorf) into the premises of a former clay brick factory.
Karl Bossong, born in Munich on the 9th of November 1909, was a racing driver during the Forties, on board the ‘Veritas RS’, a racing car with a 2 litre BMW engine. He came third twice on the Nürburgring and Kölner Kurs circuits and fourth at Hockenheim in 1949.
It was after the Second World War that he moved from the automotive sector into the field of nail machines and fasteners, following a trip to the USA, where he had seen a nail gun and realized its potential for development in Germany. In fact the full phase of development was during the reconstruction years in Germany, when Bossong, at a time of great turmoil for the building industry used the operational system of a pistol to drive a nail into concrete, as well as to fix steel bars and wooden planks.
In 1951, thanks to the support of technician Max Skuwawiz, a nail gun was developed that was more efficient and economical as it was composed of less elements and a patent was registered in the United States (5th April 1955, patent no. 2,705,323 for “Gun for fastener projectile” at the ‘United States Patent Office’).
In the meantime however, due to large debt, Karl Bossong was forced to sell (1950) part of his company to the Burkhardt-Bank of Essen and to the American company Ramset.
The high quality of production achieved at the factories of Karl Bossong were maintained for the TORNADO production (this would be the name of the Lintorf company from 1954 when the name changed to Tornado-Ramset GmbH + Co), ensuring several decades of success for nail gun tools, exported all over the world.
It was managed by Harald Lüdecke, who was assisted for a period by the American Mr Boge.
Karl Bossong definitively left ‘Bossong Werk GmbH’ in 1952 and moved to Italy where he founded Bossong SpA. Production was therefore decentralized in northern Italy, where it was most economical at the time, in Ponte San Pietro to be precise, in the province of Bergamo.
Even in those years the nails were being produced with innovative technology in comparison to the normal cut of common use nails.
The tip of the Bossong nail was ‘hammered’, which concentrated the fibres, and was not cut with the usual ‘cutting’ system. This technology made the Bossong nail unique in its genre in terms of resistance, able to withstand the explosion and penetration into steel and concrete.
It was 1956 when Karl Bossong, pursuing the positive growth of the construction market, expanded his activity with ‘Bossong Gesellschaft’, through which he began to market construction products. There were then two types of activity, the productive ‘Bossong Werk’ and commercial ‘Bossong Gesellschaft’, which would continue side by side and distinguish the entrepreneurial soul of Bossong over the entire course of its history, up to today.
Bergamo, late Fifties
Galvanisation by Industria Elettrochimica Bergamasca
Bossong nails had to be protected from corrosive agents and the elements and were therefore galvanised. A company specializing in high-resistance galvanisation was therefore required, in order to guarantee withstanding of the explosion and then, once the nail is fixed, galvanic protection. It was this requirement that led Karl Bossong, in the late Fifties, to meet with the Taddei family, owners of the ‘Industria Elettrochimica Bergamasca srl’ company from Longuelo (Bergamo), which specialized in galvanisation.
At the time the company was managed by its founder, Dr Emilio Taddei, who had started out as a steel technician in Leghorn before the Great War and then, during the Twenties, was headhunted to be Technical Director of the Dalmine plants by the engineer Agostino Rocca, whose cousin Elina he would marry. The connection with Dalmine, today Dalmine-Tenaris, was then handed down to their son Luciano who from 1996 to 2003 was a member of the Board of Directors and from 1998 to 2012 has been an advisor to the Fondazione Dalmine. After the war, in the Fifties, Emilio Taddei founded Industria Elettrochimica Bergamasca srl with his two sons Marco and Luciano; its headquarters were located in the family farm, reconverted into a chemical works.
The Taddei family glassworks
As mentioned before, the Taddei family has always been a family of entrepreneurs. The great grandparents of Luciano, Emilio Taddei (Florence 1816 – Livorno 1879) and Giovanna Marconi (Pisa 1820 – Bientina 1893) moved to Livorno where, around the first half of the 1800s, it appears that they had a bottle factory, the “Taddei-Marconi Glassworks”, in the area of Porta San Marco. The grandfather of Luciano was born in Livorno during the reign of Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany: Luigi Taddei (Livorno 1856 - Florence 1919) who married Zaira Romani (Livorno 1857 - Florence 1915). Luigi and Zaira had just become subjects of the House of Savoy (1861, Italian Unification) when they moved to Castelfiorentino in the province of Florence where, around 1884, they created “The Castelfiorentino Glassworks”. This glassworks produced flasks for wine and oil, typical products of the Tuscan hills.
Taddei glassworks improved the life of many families in Castelfiorentino: while men worked in the fields or vineyards, women were given the possibility of bringing a second salary home by covering the glassworks’ flasks with straw. Today glassworks no longer exists, but where they used to stand there is now a monument in remembrance of the straw-covering women and the men who used to blow glass at the glassworks which was owned by Luigi Taddei up until his death after the First World War. The glassworks was then sold to the Rigatti family which owned it until the 1950s.
The Taddei family buy out Bossong and enter the fixing gun sector
In the early Sixties, due to his advancing years, Karl Bossong decided to sell the company, despite having opened an office in Hampstead in England, and one in Düsseldorf with a view to commercial expansion. It was 1962 when the Taddei family bought out Bossong SpA, through their trusted accountant Aldo Farina. At the helm of the new Bossong SpA was Luciano Taddei, a graduate in industrial chemistry from Pavia, son of the founder of Industria Elettrochimica Bergamasca, managing director and from 1996 to 2012 President. In 1969 Bossong SpA and Industria Elettrochimica Bergamasca sas of the Taddei Brothers merged, through the incorporation of the latter. Hence the E and B logo was created, which indicates the union of Elettrochimica and Bossong. The company progressively expanded its production range, investing significantly in research and development and thus offering one of the widest ranges of fixing solutions.
The Seventies - Eighties
Wall plugs and electric tools join the fixing guns
In the Seventies the construction of a new, modern plant in Curno (Bergamo) allowed the implementation of the range of Bossong products, through import (mechanical wall plugs and Phillips Red Head electric drill tools) and internal production (mechanical anchors for medium loads and nylon plugs and screws for light fixing). During the Seventies Bossong had a hundred or so employees and various branches around Italy, including Turin, Milan, Padua and Bologna. Constant research into avant-garde solutions led the company to become one of the primary distributors in Italy of Japanese Makita electric tools (1982). This particular focus on research and development ensured that production was increasingly concentrated internally, with machines created by Bossong technicians; the same applied for the design and development of prototypes for new products.
Chemical fixing becomes the core business
The Nineties marked a fundamental moment in the history of Bossong. The headquarters moved again, although it remained in the province of Bergamo, to Treviolo, and the era of chemical fixing began, first importing the single-dose phial system from the German company MKT and then producing the first epoxy resin with manual and semi-automatic machinery. The company enjoyed an important phase of growth and undertook industrialized production of resin, with new lines of polyester and vinylester resins.
From 1994 Dr Luciano Taddei was joined by his sons Andrea and Michele on the Board of Directors of the Company.
Bossong and the restoration world
Increasing attention to the protection of building heritage led Bossong to approach the world of restoration, and in particular the field of structural reinforcement, both for valuable buildings and traditional construction. Thus the Bossong anchoring system importing a specific solution for structural reinforcement through the insertion of metal bars into the building, designed to respect the existing structure. This technology required a special fabric ‘sleeve’ which would wrap around the metal bar and guarantee total control of the injection of a specific mortar, as well as its adhesion to the substratum along its whole length.
In 2005 logistic problems at the Treviolo branch enforced a qualitative leap and a new relocation to Grassobbio, still in the province of Bergamo.
Today Bossong is one of the most internationally qualified companies in the production of fixing systems for the construction world.
Its Research & Development, notably implemented over the years, today constitutes one of the company’s flagship items, enabling the design of innovative solutions for both mechanical and chemical fixing systems, such as wall plugs, nails and resins, as well as fixing machines.
Thanks to this know-how the company is always there for its clients, offering technical and design support in order to choose the most suitable fixing product for the type of application required, as well as in the installation phase, even designing a ‘made to measure’ system for specific or complex situations. Today the plants have 5200 m² of covered surface, including offices, warehouses, sales areas, production departments, equipment repair workshops, testing rooms and chemical laboratories.
This is in addition to 1000 m2 of photovoltaic panels that can generate almost 200,000 kWh a year, providing approximately 140 kW of power.
For testing the majority of products, Bossong uses their own room equipped with modern equipment, periodically calibrated and subjected to controls to verify the precision of performance.
Bossong S.p.A. has been certified under international regulation ISO 9001:2008 since the 27th of July 2000 for the design, production and sale of fixing and reinforcement systems.
Bossong has always encouraged associative activity, seeing in the community of interests and goals a fundamental requirement for the wellbeing of the entire sector. Luciano Taddei has always been very active in Confindustria: he was a member of the executive council of Bergamo from 1968 to 2000, vice-president of Piccola Industria, President and founding member of Confidi scrl and Federfidi Lombardia and national advisor of Federconfidi. He was also acting President of the Chamber of Commerce of Bergamo and in 2002 founder of Ecap (European Consortium of Anchor Producers), a European consortium of small and medium companies, supported technically by the Politecnico di Milano and engaged in research activity. His son Andrea was President, and today is General Manager of Ecap while Michele is Vice-president of Assorestauro (National Association for Architectural, Artistic and Urban restoration).
A sad anniversary
During this year of celebration, the man who transformed a small craft business into an industrial organisation died at the age of eighty.
Thanks to the “Dottore”, Bossong was able to make a name for himself in the world of building due to his seriousness and reliability not just in Italy, but also around the world. For half a century, Luciano Taddei guided the company with a firm hand, enjoying many exciting years but also having to face difficult periods.
His huge optimism and confidence in the future and in life, which he transmitted to all his employees, stayed with him for all the time.
The real driving force of corporate success, Bossong has always considered its employees to be a valuable resource, with talent and manual skill, which should be valued and rewarded, in recognition of their dedication. Many generational changes have taken place on the work benches, at machines and desks or at the wheel of the vehicles travelling around Italy and Europe. Thus, in these 50 years in Italy, Bossong can count on collaborators that have developed 30 and even 40 years of work within the company.
A simple but valid formula for corporate management, based on professional growth and the involvement of all employees, which has brought Bossong to celebrate not only 50 years in Italy, but also 75 years since its birth.