The story of the Magistroni brand is somewhat complex. It may go something like this:
- In 1921 Luigi Magistroni and his brother formed Fabbricazione Meccaniche Vedano (FMV) in Vedano al Lambro, a neighbourhood in Monza, which is, in turn, a northern suburb of Milano. Amongst other things, the company produced a range of rather nice steel bicycle parts, with quality plating, branded as 'FMV'. Chainsets featured from the very beginning.
- In the late 1920s, possibly 1929, the company changed its ownership structure and became Societa Anonima Fabbricazione Meccaniche Vedano.
- In 1934 the company went bust and was taken over. The new company was Societa Anonima Officine Meccaniche di Vedano, and used the 'L Magistroni' brand name. It continued to make bicycle parts, especially chainsets.
- In the late 1940s Emilio Giostra became the chief executive. By this time the company was firmly established as the chainset maker to the stars and supplied the likes of Fiorenzo Magni and Fausto Coppi.
- Devoted to beautifully machined and lushly plated steel, the company never came to terms with the concept of the aluminium chainset and sometime in the mid to late 1960s it disappeared forever.
- In a weird footnote, it is sometimes suggested that Ofmega grew out of a company called Officine Mecchaniche Giostra (OMG), and that this company was something to do with the Emilio Giostra who had run Magistroni in its prime. I don't have the evidence to either support or debunk this theory.
The reason that Magistroni gets a mention on this web site is that Luigi Magistroni patented two designs for derailleurs in 1961. I think the story of these two patents may go something like this:
- Tullio Campagnolo, had started out by making quick releases and gear systems. These were complementary to, and often used along with, Magistroni chainsets.
- But by 1961, Campagnolo was making big inroads into the chainset market and was now a major competitor for Magistroni.
- In particular, 1960 saw the introduction of the iconic aluminium, cotterless, Campagnolo Record chainset - which defined the quality chainset market for the next two decades.
- Even more of a danger was Tullio Campagnolo's concept of the 'groupset' - that all the components on a bike should come from one manufacturer. This was a mortal threat to Magistroni.
- Caught in the headlights of this speeding locomotive, perhaps Luigi Magistroni thought that he had to strike back - by manufacturing gear systems and creating a groupset of his own.
- Unfortunately I don't believe that Luigi ever put either of his designs into production.