The Mathi Paper Mill

Foto: Kaizen Institute

The birth of the first Salesian bookbindery is an epic moment of great importance for Don Bosco. However, his objective was much broader: he planned to manage the entire cycle of publishing production on his own, putting himself forward as an all-round true and proper Catholic publisher.

In early 1862, Don Bosco finally succeeded in launching his own project: within a few years, the Oratory's printing house put a large number of books on the market.

In 1876, Don Bosco joined the Turin initiative with the Genoa Sampierdarena printing house and opened bookstores in various parts of Italy.

However, the project was in danger of slowing down due to a lack of paper. But upon learning of a small paper mill for sale in Mathi, 25 kilometers from Turin, Don Bosco decided to purchase it. The deed notarized in 1877 by Royal Notary Pavesio sanctioned the purchase of the facility.

The first two years were very complicated and therefore, in December 1878, it was decided to entrust the undertaking to a management group composed of Salesian religious.

It was then the General Exhibition of 1884, held in Turin, that gave Don Bosco the opportunity to show everyone the high level he had reached in the field of typography and publishing. In those months, in fact, a new machine ordered from the Escher-Wyss firm of Zurich was scheduled to be delivered to Mathi. It was decided to temporarily install the machines at a special gallery, where the entire process could be exhibited to the public. In the end, the jury of the Exposition, which was anticlerical in orientation, awarded the Salesian Society the silver medal, but Don Bosco refused it, considering the public's judgment to be the best feedback for their efforts in the art of typography.

The full article is available in the Salesian Bulletin.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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