The history of AGV merges with the history and evolution of motorcycle helmets. Get to know her.
In a land of cobblers and leather goods manufacturers, almost all of them passionate about cycling, Gino was a young accountant who in 1945 decided to become an entrepreneur. Together with two partners began to manufacture two types of products:
- Bicycle saddle covers sold under the brand FAB
- Helmets for cyclists, marketed under the Robic brand.
His ambition was great and the following year, already separated from his partners, the Italian entrepreneur creates the AGV, whose designation is the acronym that identifies its owner: Amisano, in his own name Gino, who lived in Valenza, a small village of Alessandria, located in the center of the triangle formed by Milan, Turin and Genoa.
Still in 1946 the AGV repositioned itself commercially and began to address the new market of motorcycles, or rather, scooters, building seats and backs for Vespas and Lambretas that meanwhile began to conquer the market.
That same year, Gino met Luciana Morando. He married her in 1947 and engaged her in his company, where he alone, in addition to managing, would also sell his products to Milan, having managed to increase production from 20 seats to 700 units per week.
The first AGV motorcycle helmet dates back to 1947.
Amisano had seen that most motorcycle riders protected their heads with fur caps, similar to those used by aviators. Rare, the lucky ones used what is still known today as”pudding basins”, that is, pudding bowls,(in Portuguese they would be the”penicos”) manufactured by Cromwell in England.
They were constructed with several layers of cotton fabric and coconut fibers, which after being soaked in resin and pressed, were waterproofed with China lacquer. They were more used to protect from the cold and the small stones projected by the other vehicles, than properly as protection in case of accident.
According to ItyPeauto, AGV’s first motorcycle helmets were made entirely of leather, which was stretched over wooden molds that Gino had borrowed from orsalino, the famous hatter, also he from the region of Alessandria. After forming, the”barrels” were dried in an oven for one hour at 50 ° C to harden. Later they were painted. Initial production was limited to five units per week.
A pioneer in helmet design, Gino made successive experiments beginning with felt and stucco caps, and later on alternative composite materials such as pressed cardboard, made exclusively for himself.
It was not the right material, as it softened with the rain and stiffened too much in the sun, becoming brittle. But, under normal conditions, it guaranteed good shock absorption properties. This despite the fact that there were no tests or safety regulations at that time!
The next step in the evolution of AGV helmets was fiber. By the 1950s the outer shells were made from resin impregnated fibers that were molded and chemically hardened using a catalyst. The whole process was manual, and similar to what was then used in yacht construction.