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Vinavil - Made in Italy

Vinavil and the history of Made in Italy chemistry

The Val d’Ossola factory, which in the middle of the last century saw the birth of Vinavil, the world’s most famous Italian vinyl glue, recently celebrated its first 100 years.

reading time5 minutes

It is very likely that among the school memories of each of us is a little white bottle with red lettering and a red cap, used for crafts or collages. We are talking about ‘Vinavil‘, the world’s most famous Italian vinyl glue. Vinavil stands for vinyl acetate Villadossola and its history is essentially the history of Italian chemistry.

Once upon a time in the Ossola Valley…

Between 1918 and 1919, SET (Società Elettrochimica del Toce) and SIPS (Società Italiana di Prodotti Sintetici) decided to open a plant in Val d’Ossola to produce calcium carbide, the precursor of acetylene. The years of the Second World War saw an intense development phase for the company. It was during this period that the famous ‘white glue’ was created, based on the idea of the Turinese chemist Carlo Oddone, born in 1924. After a brief stint as a teacher, Oddone was hired at the Villadossola (VB) plant. Here, in a team with other chemists, he helped develop the formula for Vinavil in 1952.

The ingredients of success

The factors that make this glue successful are essentially two: the low price and the fact that it is not harmful to humans (provided that you do not ingest it!). It is immediately apparent that the glue is ideal for fixing wood, cardboard, fabric, and all porous materials. It is also easy to use because it takes several minutes to harden.

The glue was marketed in an iconic white plastic bottle with red lettering and was so successful that the production of cellulose acetate, which had been used to make glue until then, was discontinued within a few years.

In the 1970s, thanks to its many merits, Vinavil glue was supplied to all Italian schools.

The crisis years

As part of a rationalisation process, Montedison decided at the end of the 1970s to spin off the hydroelectric power plant from the factory, which would have to get energy at market prices. This would lead to a progressive crisis in the factory and reduced production.

A new company, Vinavil SpA, part of the Montedison Group, was then created. After many ups and downs, it became part of EniChem Synthesis.

Mapei and the relaunch of a historic business

In 1994, however, the Mapei group, another 100% Made in Italy company, decided to buy the acetovinyl resin business, still operating in the Villadossola and Ravenna plants.

The new ownership reorganises the company, modernises the production facilities, and expands and internationalises production. A significant date for the new path is January 20, 2008, when the calcium carbide storage silos, which had been the hallmark of the Ossola Valley landscape for a long time, were demolished and replaced by more modern facilities. Today, Vinavil Spa is part of a large group that strives to reconcile workers’ needs, environmental sustainability and market competitiveness. The Villadossola plant recently celebrated its first 100 years. The dispersion and solid polymers it produces are used in many industries (from construction to food).

Congratulations to those who, amid complexity, hold the values of Made in Italy production high and work to grow a historical company.

Learn the stories of Made in Italy companies in the chemical and pharmaceutical sector.