Italian household appliances
since 1919

Leading a
century of progress
in technology
and cuisine

Girmi is one of the Italian household appliance brands that played a central role in the country’s golden century of manufacturing and design. Founded more than a century ago, the company launched a small household appliance brand which became familiar to generations of Italians, and supported them in their daily lives with style and convenience.

Through its history, the Girmi brand has become a symbol of Italian quality and of the country’s great industrial and business tradition. Girmi household appliances have always had a modern, tasteful, efficient line, often created by master designers. In some cases, Girmi products have been pathfinders, inspiring trends and new domestic habits which have become part of everyday life.

The history of Girmi
and Italian household appliances

The history of Girmi as a household appliance producer is also the history of Italian enterprise and design, and the country’s unique talent for research and innovation. A wonderful story that deserves to be told, not just to celebrate it but for a deeper understanding of who we are and our pact of trust with consumers, based on the hard work and dedication of those who went before us.

Girmi’s history: antique personal care products catalogue
A page from the first catalogue of products for barbers, which already impresses with its sophisticated design

It is the start of the Roaring Twenties. The Great War has just ended and a wind of regenerative euphoria is sweeping across Europe: new fashions, and new industries to support them, are being born. Italian entrepreneurial spirit is reawakening, with innovative businesses flourishing everywhere. Subalpina, a cooperative founded by six young men to produce household and personal care articles, including some male and female grooming products for barbers and hairdressers, is founded at Omegna, in the Alto Cusio area of Piedmont. Led by Mario Caldi, over the next twenty years the cooperative grows to employ forty production workers and five office staff.

1930 prototype of a modern home with the first household appliances
The “electric home” exhibited in Monza in 1930, featuring some of the household appliances which were to become part of Italian families’ daily lives just twenty years later

The 4th Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts, held in Monza, displays the “electric home”, the prototype of what was to become the home of the future, complete with electrically powered products such as the vacuum cleaner, oven and coffee maker. Although already on the market, these items were still not part of the daily lives of most people, for reasons of cost. It may seem strange that even the wealthiest families, which could have afforded them, still preferred to pay servants to do the housework: household appliances were not yet part of the Italian lifestyle, and would not become so until the late 1940s.

Girmi executives setting off on a plane trip to the USA
Carlo Caldi and other Omegna industrialists leaving for a business trip to the United States, where they will find inspiration for their innovative products

Carlo Caldi, the founder’s son, takes over the reins at Subalpina and carries through the genuine revolution which will transform it into Girmi, a large Italian household appliance corporation. Alive to international trends, he is fascinated by the electric blenders used in the United States and begins to work on a first line of household cooking appliances to launch on the Italian market, with the aim of eliminating repetitive tasks from the kitchen and setting housewives free to use their imagination.

Girmi Italian small household appliances of the Fifties
The first four household appliances launched on the market by Subalpina, including the Frullo blender and the Mokaro coffee grinder, which are very successful in Italy because they are the first Italian-made household appliances

Subalpina launches Frullo, the first Italian-made electric blender on the Italian market. This is followed in quick succession by a toaster, a baby bottle warmer and a plastic electric coffee grinder called Mokaro. They are the first four household appliances placed on the market by the Omegna-based company; they still have plenty of room for technical improvement, but they are ground-breaking for the Italian lifestyle. Subalpina’s four aces are a great success with the public.

One of the first Girmi multifunction blenders in a period photo
One of the many versions of the Gastronomo, the forerunner of the modern food processor, a very successful appliance from Girmi’s history

A new household appliance sets the seal on the company’s success: the Gastronomo, which puts the previous year’s blender in the shade. This appliance is so successful that about a thousand pieces a week are produced. The Gastronomo has a range of easily interchangeable accessories, including beater, mincer, grater, juicer, citrus juicer, ice crusher and even coffee frother. This ancestor of the modern food processor is very popular with housewives and transforms home lifestyles. In fact, from the Fifties the multipurpose blender becomes a minor status symbol for Italian families, who are experiencing the start of an age of new prosperity. The advertising of those years, when Girmi is already setting the pace, also portrays a new way of life, based on mental and physical wellbeing, and more emancipation for women.

Carosello coffee grinder, one of Girmi’s first successful household appliances
The Carosello coffee grinder, designed by Marco Zanuso: the first Girmi appliance in which design becomes central

Another product launched during those years is the Frulletto, a new multifunction blender destined for a special role. It will be rechristened with a name which will help to ensure its success: Girmi, from the Italian words for stirring and mixing. This product takes the market by storm, and in response Carlo Caldi decides to rename the company Girmi-La Subalpina S.p.A., which is to become just Girmi. These years see the start of collaboration with top industrial designers, including Marco Zanuso, who designs the Carosello coffee grinder, packed with stylistic and functional innovations, which is to inspire other designers. Carosello inaugurates a long tradition of high design values in Girmi’s creations, which will always provide the perfect combination of line, form and function. Apart from Zanuso himself and star designer Luca Meda, other names worthy of mention include Nico Smeenck, Michele De Lucchi and Giovanni Sacchi.

Sketches of the Girmi electric coffee maker, styled by designer Luca Meda
Luca Meda’s sketches, a masterpiece of improvisation and iconic design

A decade which is to mark the peak of Girmi’s success opens. By now, the brand has conquered the Italian and foreign market with its well organised sales network and the state-of-the-art technology and design of its products. The new production site at Cireggio guarantees very high rates of production and the Italian household appliances market is booming. The heart of the company is the technical department, which is continually evolving innovative products. Luca Meda, a famous name in Italian design, joins the company and is instructed to restyle some products already on the market and design new ones. Meda’s magic touch gives a new lease of life to many Girmi products already popular with consumers. His coffee pots, masterpieces of improvisation and technique, are famous, as are his ice-cream makers and the 1983 Caffeconcerto coffee maker, still an Italian design icon.

Girmi Italian small household appliances in a restyled collection
The line of Girmi classics presented after a restyling: the brand’s identity is still strong, but the company has fallen on hard times

Carlo Caldi sells a stake in the company to an American corporation. It is a time of economic crisis, with demand slowing, and foreign competition is becoming fierce. It is the start of a dark period, when the company continues to be owned by foreign corporations and www.rarily loses its leading position amongst Italian household appliance brands. After various difficulties and changes of ownership, including the company’s acquisition by Bialetti, in the early years of the new millennium things finally take a turn for the better...

Automatic press-to-operate citrus juicer
Girmi’s acquisition by the Trevidea group starts a journey with new goals for the historic brand from Omegna

Girmi is acquired by Rimini-based company Trevidea, which already owns leading small household appliances brand G3 Ferrari. This marks the start of a new story for the brand with ambitious goals, although still maintaining the great Italian tradition of which it was one of the key pillars. Convenience and style, the distinctive features of Girmi household appliances, are sacrosanct: the aim now is to innovate the product range and design while conserving the essence of Girmi’s identity.

Cover of the Girmi 2019 Catalogue “100 years together”
Cover of the “100 years together” catalogue celebrating Girmi’s centennial: new technologies and tools keep antique tastes and flavours alive, maintaining the tradition with a range of household appliances that embody the best of the company’s output

Girmi reaches its centennial in better form than ever, with a rich catalogue entitled “100 years together”: a complete range of household appliances for cooking and personal care that satisfy the demands and tastes of the younger generations but still evoke the “Girmis” used by their grandmothers and mothers, products many of us knew and loved in the homes of our childhood.

Based on extracts from the book "1919-2019, Cent'anni di Girmi" [1919-2019, A Hundred Years of Girmi], by Bruno Maffeis

Girmi in communication and

Girmi products’ central place in the daily lives of so many Italian families was gained partly thanks to the brand’s strong focus on communication right from its origins. Amongst the early advertising pioneers, Girmi made history with its “Carosello” TV slots and commercials and also continued its journey with major partnerships and sponsorships in the world of sport.

Girmi advertising poster from the Fifties
With its leading-edge advertisements and marketing campaigns, Girmi taught hundreds of thousands of Italian families to eat a healthier, more balanced diet, to have a large breakfast, to care for their health and to exercise
“Carosello” and The Jetsons
From 1957 to 1977 the TV programme “Carosello” was beamed into Italians’ homes every evening, with its amusing sketches followed by commercials often created by famous screen writers or directors. The Jetsons by Hanna & Barbera star in the famous Girmi “Carosello”.
Girmi “Carosello” from the Seventies
The Jetsons continue to be the main characters in the Girmi “Carosello” until 1975; the programme goes off the air two years later
Giuliano Gemma in a Girmi commercial
Girmi chooses an outstanding brand ambassador: Giuliano Gemma, an icon of the Italian cinema, who appeared in over a hundred films during his long career.
Commercial for Girmi Mastro
The Girmi Mastro commercial is one of the many produced by the brand and broadcast on television over the years.
The Girmi Oplà electric grill in a commercial
The commercial for the Girmi Oplà, a classic model from the Nineties, is aired on television.
Marco Pantani at the 1998 Tour de France wearing the jersey of his sponsor Girmi
The “Mercatone Uno – Bianchi – Girmi” cycling team performs exceptionally well at the Tour de France, with Marco Pantani winning the 11th stage from Luchon to Plateau de Beille
Girmi at the Barcolana historic regatta in Trieste in 2019
Girmi stars at many sailing events and takes part in the 51st edition of Trieste’s Barcolana historic regatta
La Femme Terrible competes in the J/70 Cup, sponsored by Girmi
Girmi and La Femme Terrible compete in the J/70 Cup
The Consolini volleyball team, sponsored by Girmi, celebrates during an A2 Italian Cup match
The Consolini volleyball team, of which Girmi is long-standing co-sponsor, featuring on the shirts of the two liberos, plays in the final of the A2 Italian Cup

The images used here were obtained from an online publication which does not name the image copyright holder. We are prepared to remove them at once if the copyright holder objects.