At the end of the '60s Lino Manfrotto was a photo reporter in Bassano del Grappa for Il Gazzettino and Il Giornale di Vicenza. He was also engaged in industrial and advertising photography. The photographer’s studio equipment was cumbersome, heavy and did not facilitate the work of professionals. The market offered a wide range of studio flash-units and quartz illuminators, but completely neglected basic accessories such as stands, booms and clamps.
Thus, with the help of a collaborator, Lino Manfrotto made his first products, including a light and sturdy lamp stand that was finally high enough. For a couple of years he produced just a few pieces, to meet the needs of photographer friends. Later he decided to present them on an international level, obtaining the first significant order from a Swiss distributor.
The garage became a production workshop. The first booms, telescopic rods and other stands were manufactured and soon he realized that production capacity was insufficient to address orders from customers.
In 1972 Lino Manfrotto met Gilberto Battocchio, a technician working for a Bassano mechanical firm. The commercial and product soul meets its technical counterpart. It was an all-important moment. The new arrival turned the product solutions required by Lino Manfrotto into three-dimensional reality. The two made a great team, and within just a few short years a leading enterprise on a world level was developed.
In 1974 the first Manfrotto tripod was launched. Innovative, light and versatile, Manfrotto tripods and stands achieved success on all the markets. Articles such as the Superboom, Autopole®, and Superclamp® became an important part of every photographic studio in the world. And the competition? They followed and copied, but were unable to match Manfrotto innovation, quality, performance and service.
The Group grew, and in 1986 Manfrotto, already with 6 plants in Bassano, landed in Feltre, in the industrial zone of Villapaiera, establishing 5 plants in the space of two years.
Innovative quality products, worldwide brand recognition with a vast distribution network encompassing 140 countries, and top-level personnel attracted the interest of international investors. In 1989 the entire Lino Manfrotto shareholding was sold to the British Vitec Group plc, a multinational concern listed on the London Stock Exchange operating in the broadcasting sector with American, German, English and French subsidiaries. Lino and Gilberto in any case remained in Group management.
1992 saw the purchase of the French company Gitzo, a leader in the sector of tripods and heads for professional photography.
In 1993 the American company Bogen was purchased, a leader in the distribution of photographic material in the USA.
IFF, a leader in the sector of photographic equipment and suspensions, was purchased in 1994.
Litec, a leader in the sector of aluminium trellises for the entertainment market, was purchased in 1999.
2000 to Today
In recent years, the advent of digital technology has been profoundly changing the photography and video sector and is creating millions of new enthusiasts. The Group has anticipated this trend and is capitalizing on its own experience in order to promote new solutions for photographers and videographers worldwide.