Troubled Times

In the first years of World War II, production increased and was rationalized and standardized still further. As the war went on, however, the spirit of the Resistance, strong in an anti-Fascist tradition dating back to the 1930s, forcefully emerged. In 1943 the plant was requisitioned by the Germans, while the scarcity of raw materials, the difficulty in collecting payments due and the events of war, increasingly unfavorable to the Axis forces, led to the transfer of the production to Northern Italy. Only a small amount of the machinery remained in Florence, where the rear guard of the fleeing German army blew up part of the factory in 1944. By the end of the war, only about 10% of the Rifredi plant could be used for production, with barely forty or so machines in operation, out of the over one thousand existing in 1939.