Grandi Manufacturing: Marco and Manuela follow in their father Giorgio’s footsteps at the helm of this prestigious business (2)

Giorgio Grandi was born in Milan in October 1931. During those difficult years, in between the two world wars, when the great economic depression impacted on Italy giving rise to political and trade-union struggles, the tragic events of the decades that followed. Those born during that period were denied the opportunities taken for granted by children today.  A sheet of paper, confirming Grandi Giorgio as labourer number 34, shows the employment date as 16 October 1945, a mere three days prior to Giorgio’s 14th birthday.  Employed by the General Electrical Company until 17 October 1955, which date confirms the calculation of severance pay indicating the termination of this business relationship, at a staggering amount of 133.709 Italian lire.  Another sheet of paper, dated October 1948, stipulates Giorgio Grandi’s qualification as “assistant toolmaker”.

Valuable experience was gained but not reflected in earnings.  Giorgio decided to emigrate and his first foreign contract took him to Sweden, which left him with memories of frigid winters, as  his friend the journalist, Alberto Ballarin, recalls.  His second attempt proved fortunate and it took him to South Africa, where Press Spinning & Stamping, in Paarden Eiland, employed him as a Toolmaker placing him in charge of their tool room.  After two years he moved to Hesper Engineering on the outskirts of Cape Town.  After seven years Giorgio Grandi was ready for the big move.  Grandi & Garbaccio was born, however, his partner soon retired, leaving only his name in the company.  In 1966 Grandi Engineering (Pty) Ltd commenced trading and in 1988 the name changed to Grandi Manufacturing cc where, fortuitously, the son of the late owner of Press Spinning came to be employed, his granddaughter, Louise, became part of the family by marrying Marco Grandi.

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