Italian Business, 1905–14
In engineering in general it was the north of Italy which was making major headway in that nation’s rather uncertain economic growth at the start of the twentieth century. This was very noticeable in the field of armaments. Ehrhardt then built a gun-making plant in Spezia, and Schneider one in Milan. In 1905/6 Vickers joined two Italian shipbuilders, Orlando and Ordero, and the Terni steelworks to erect ordnance works at Spezia under the title of the Vickers Terni Societa Italiana d’Artigliera e Armamento. Vickers were to provide technical know-how in exchange for 10 per cent of the net profits. Though his firm subscribed only 87000 of the initial 385000 capital, Albert Vickers was made Chairman. Other developments proposed at this time did not in the end materialise. In 1906 there were suggestions that the Midvale company of Philadelphia might be about to build an armour plate mill in Italy; there were rumours of government-owned shell works and armour capacity. All these developments, actual or merely proposed, helped to increase the pressure on Pozzuoli. Armstrongs responded by trying to make it more self-sufficient, more efficient and more Italian.
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