Our modern day Start-Up/Kickstarter culture is all well and good, but it’s probably not doing the inventor of the Electric Popsicle™ a disservice when we say that the pioneer spirit is sorely lacking (if not repeated electrical shocks). To be alive when world firsts were truly superlative spawning inventions that would go on to establish industry trends, benefit their users and not hospitalise everyone who tried their product, would surely have been an intoxicating experience.
If we could visit Conegliano, Italy in 1946, we’d find a 40 year old Emilio De Marchi waiting patiently on the production floor of his newly established factory. One year before and just a few months after the end of WWII, this one-time athlete and manger for the Bottecchia cycling team founded his ‘Maglificio Sportivo’ and now, as the first of what Emilio believes are superior quality merino wool cycling jerseys finish production, a frisson of excitement runs down his back as he contemplates the success and failures that must lie ahead.
Such was the start-up scene in post-war Europe, but of course, Emilio need not have worried. Pretty soon his cycling jerseys were adorning the backs of cyclists far and wide, helped by De Marchi’s use of a circular knitting construction technique that allowed the creation of more comfortable jerseys. Content, but keen to further his young brand, Emilio pioneered the use of buckskin leather in 1955, travelling north to Austria to source only the finest quality to make his cycling short pads.
With our modern-day insatiable desire for new products, it’s comforting to know that De Marchi was still successful even after taking 6 years between pioneering circular knit construction and releasing their first buckskin chamois. Indeed, De Marchi would go on to more world firsts, but that’s for another time.
Always Riding is proud to be a small footnote in the history of De Marchi as a newly appointed authorised dealer. Our first models include era-accurate vintage wool cycling jerseys, which you can discover and become part of the De Marchi story, right here.