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The Zampirone: summer ally since 1862

Mosquitoes are as annoying insects now as they were in the time of Giovanni Battista Zampironi, who developed a mosquito repellent in 1862. And that is how the story of Zampirone began.

reading time4 minutes

Say summer night, and you immediately think of romantic walks on the beach, sunsets overlooking the sea, and candlelit dinners. Still, there’s always a but, and in our case, there are mosquitoes that spoil the fun and make us sleep poorly!

A natural insecticide against mosquitoes (and malaria)

Yet, for some, these annoying insects were a great opportunity. Just think of Giovanni Battista Zampironi, pioneer of the Italian insect-fighting industry and inventor of the legendary Zampirone, a Made in Italy product with an iconic and ‘deadly’ spiral shape, which is known and trusted all over the world.

Giovanni Battista Zampironi, the son of pharmacists, was born in Austrian Venice in 1836 and graduated in Pharmaceutical Chemistry in Padua with a thesis on cod liver oil. However, the large number of mosquitoes in Venice’s lagoon, also malaria carriers, prompted him to patent a product capable of keeping them away for the benefit of all.

So, in 1862, at only 26 years of age, he set up in the ‘Premiato Laboratorio Zampironi’ in Mestre (VE) the production of Zampirina, pyrethrum powder (a natural insecticide obtained from a type of chrysanthemum widespread in the eastern Adriatic) and the Piroconofobo: a mosquito repellent cone made of pyrethrum powder, potassium nitrate, marshmallow root, tragacanth gum and other thickening or binding substances.

An international success

Enterprising and visionary Giovanni Battista Zampironi promoted his invention by participating in all the most important international exhibitions of the 19th century. From Melbourne to Chicago, from Palermo to Turin, the Zampironi Company won numerous gold medals over the years. In 1906, Giovanni Battista was awarded the honour of Knight of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

From Veneto to Japan

But what is the secret of Zampironi’s success? At the core of his invention is pyrethrum, a natural insecticide that is cheap, harmless to humans, can be handled with bare hands, and is non-toxic in the open air. On the other hand, the iconic spiral shape that allows the Zampirone to burn for several hours only came after the war. Its invention is, in fact, due to a Japanese entrepreneur of the late 19th century, Eiichiro Ueyama, or rather his wife, Yuki. The woman, perhaps inspired by a coiled snake in the garden, suggested to her husband that he adopt a spiral shape for the pyrethrum powder incense sticks he produced. This enabled the combustion to last up to 6-7 hours, compared to the 40 minutes of the stick and the few minutes of the Zampironi cone.

A timeless success

Meanwhile, The Zampironi brand became so strong in Italy that when the spiral shape entered the market, it was immediately adopted by the famous insecticide, the father of the modern Italian insect and room fragrance industry. Zampirone today is a product of the Zobele Group, a Trentino-based multinational founded by the Zobele family and in business for almost 100 years. The company has 5000 employees and hundreds of millions in turnover. Since 2020, it has been part of kdc/one.

Congratulations to those who bring Italian inventions to the world!

Learn about other Italian health and wellness companies.