Home Health A revolutionary scooter comes out of an aircraft factory: the Vespa

A revolutionary scooter comes out of an aircraft factory: the Vespa

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A revolutionary scooter comes out of an aircraft factory: the Vespa

On 23 April 1946, Piaggio filed the project for a “motorcycle with a rational complex of organs and elements with a frame combined with mudguards and bonnet covering all the mechanical parts” at the Patent office in Florence. It is about a new type of scooter: the Vespa.

The story of one of the most famous Italian brands in the world has been told a thousand times, but one of the best was the economic journalist Giuseppe Turani. Here he explains the background: “Piaggio was born to make airplanes. Circumstances are driving it towards scooters. Immediately after the war, the company went through a delicate moment: the plants for making airplanes were damaged. And so you have to come up with something. These are days when there is little money and little petrol. But people want to move. The right way is to give the Italians a kind of motorbike. Enrico Piaggio doesn’t really know what he wants. He just knows that he wants something that is not there and that no one has ever seen. To achieve this mysterious thing, however, he has an important idea: he turns to the right man, that is to the aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio, who will be the technical father of the Vespa, and who designed the first Italian helicopter. The engineer hates motorbikes, he just doesn’t like them. In particular, he doesn’t like having to climb over the bike to get on it. His great invention is precisely this: thanks to his ability as an aircraft designer, he draws the first motorcycle with a load-bearing body, which therefore does not need a central tunnel with the engine and everything else. Again because he hates normal motorcycles, he wears the gearshift on the handlebars. For the engine there are no problems: D’Ascanio takes a starter motor from an airplane and with that he makes his scooter run. This is how the Vespa was born, on 23 April 1946 ”.

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On Italicon instead there is a profile of its inventor, Corradino D’Ascanio. Here are the first steps: “Born on 1 February 1891 in Popoli, in the province of L’Aquila, to Giacomo and Anna De Michele, Corradino worked in various fields and his patents testify to how far he was able to be ahead of his time. Since he was a boy he has been passionate about aeronautics, an almost unknown science. He builds planes out of wood and cloth and flies them over the hills of the country. At 15, 3 years after the first flight of the Wright brothers, D’Ascanio finds his flight and builds a sort of hang glider, which he uses for experimental jumps always from the hills of Popoli. To become an engineer, D’Ascanio had to move to Turin, where he graduated from the Royal Higher Institute of Engineering … In 1917 it was love that guided him in a new invention: to Popoli, wanting to talk to his girlfriend, Paola Paolini , since the telephone does not yet exist, D’Ascanio installs a telecommunication system, placing battery-operated appliances in the two houses and inserting them into the lighting power grid which supplies electricity only at night. There is no lack of American experience for the Italian D’Ascanio: in 1918 he moved to the United States, where he set up an aeronautical company with the son of Gabriele D’Annunzio, the engineer Ugo Veniero, for the construction of an airplane equipped with a Harley Davidson motorcycle engine that never went into production, which is why D’Ascanio takes up Italy again. He has left us many inventions: from the soap dispenser to the press for pressing the olives, from the electric oven for baking bread and pastry to the machine for cataloging and quickly searching for documents and, also, the excess detector of speed for vehicles. The inventor from Abruzzo, after marrying his girlfriend Paola, patented the helicopter with two propellers in 1925. In 1945, after the end of the world conflict, while the best reconstruct Italy, D’Ascanio is called by Enrico Piaggio to build a motorcycle low cost, accessible to all. The engineer does not like motorcycles, but this does not stop him and he thinks what would become the most famous motorcycle in the world: the Vespa ”.

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Il Probably the reason for the name was told by Focus: “How will he manage two people with that wasp waist?”. It seems to have been these words, spoken by Enrico Piaggio (president of the family business) to give the name, in 1946, to that strange vehicle that Corradino d’Ascanio had designed … According to Wikipedia (but we have not found confirmation) the Vespa name would always have been born from an exclamation of Enrico Piaggio caused by the sound of the engine and by the shapes of the bodywork which, seen from above, make it similar to the insect. On the other hand, another version, which has long survived, according to which the term Vespa would be equivalent to the acronym of Economic Vehicles Joint Stock Company (given that Piaggio was one of the first joint-stock companies in Italy) “.

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