OLIVETTI, Italian family of industrialists of Piedmont. CAMILLO OLIVETTI (1868–1943), who founded the firm, started a small industry in his native Ivrea for the production of instruments of electrical measurement, the first of its kind in Italy (subsequently the CGS of Milan). In 1909 he introduced the production of typewriters in Italy, founded the "Ing. C. Olivetti and Co." at Ivrea and invented the typewriter bearing his name. A patriarchal figure, he strove to make his firm one of the most advanced in Europe, both technically and socially, caring especially for the welfare and education of the workers. His son ADRIANO (1901–1960), like his father an outspoken anti-Fascist, was responsible for a radical transformation of the Ivrea plant leading to notable production increases. In 1933, as the general director of the firm, Adriano Olivetti started production on a world scale at Ivrea, Turin, and Pozzuoli, of metal furniture, typing and calculating machines, and telescriptors. He initiated a huge housing scheme at Ivrea and built free holiday resorts. Dedicated to advanced urbanism he initiated the "Movimento di Communità," on behalf of which he sat in the Italian parliament in 1958. In 1959 he took world-wide control over the Underwood Corporation. He wrote L'ordine politico della Communità (1946), Società stato communità (1948), and Città dell' Uomo (1960), which set out his aspirations for social renewal through decentralized economy based on a system of communal cooperatives, each autonomous with its own government, industries, and educational and cultural institutions.
N. Ginzburg, Lessico famigliare (1963), passim; E. Mann Borgese, in: Il Ponte, 6 (1960), 244–8; Edizioni di Communità, Ricordo di Adriano Olivetti (1960); B. Hirschman, in: South African Jewish Times (Nov. 28, 1969), 31–32.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.