The Winds of War

World War I was the first global conflict in which technology played a leading role. The Officine Galileo was called upon to furnish large supplies of equipment to the Army and Navy. It also had to develop its production of lenses, which could no longer be imported from Germany. The company began to construct "auto photoelectric" devices (searchlights mounted on cars) in collaboration with the Turin-based firm Fiat. The plant was enlarged, reorganized and equipped with new machine tools. In 1915, due to the strategic importance of the production, the work force was militarized. By the end of the war the company's resources were almost entirely devoted to military projects, while its civil clientele and foreign markets were neglected. The personnel employed in 1916-1917 numbered about 1000, a figure that rose to over 1900 by the end of the war.