F.I.M.A. – Fabbrica Italiana di Manometri ed Affini – was set up in Invorio in 1925 by Vittorio Barcellini and Carlo Curioni with the intention, already apparent in the name itself, to satisfy the growing demand for pressure gauges and other similar instruments for measuring pressure in industrial processes, during the period of heavy industrial expansion being experienced in Italy during the 1920s. The principal markets were the railways and civil and military worksites: the link was so strong that, for many years, the young employees of Fima, and then of Nuova Fima, were sent by the authorities to perform their military service in the Italian Navy, despite coming from the foothills of the Alps.
Picture of the Archives of the Italian Navy
The Great Depression of 1929 slowed down growth of the burgeoning young company, without stopping it completely, with the result that, once the storm had passed, it was able to participate in the new phase of expansion during the second half of the 1930s.
The outbreak of the Second World War, after the initial positive impulse given by the weapons industry, rapidly led to a period of stagnation which soon turned into a recession, caused by the adverse way the war was going. The immediate post-war period was a time of great hope but few opportunities and differences between the two partners led to closure of the company.
From left: Carlo Barbaglia, Giuseppe Garbarino and Vincenzo Zaveri in front of the new offices, 1956.
However, Giuseppe Garbarino wanted to continue his activities and found new partners, in the person of Vincenzo Zaveri and Carlo Barbaglia, both just twenty-three at the time, for a new business venture. On 30 April, 1948, the company was reincorporated, again in Invorio, with the name “Nuova Fima di Garbarino, Barbaglia e Zaveri, società a responsabilità limitata”. The company started off with a new life-force and, taking advantage of the boom following the second post-war period, started the major expansion which led to it increasing in size tenfold in less than twenty years.
Initially, the sectors where it operated were the same as in the 1930s, but the appearance of new materials and the demand for products capable of measuring the corrosive fluids used in the chemicals and petrochemicals sectors soon led Nuova Fima to move into the production of stainless steel instruments.
The expensive drawing and smelting processes were abandoned in favour of turning and welding and, in 1956, the new factory was inaugurated in via Cesare Battisti 59, which is still the Group’s main centre of pressure gauge production.
The company continued to develop during the 1960s, with opening of sales offices in Milan and Padua, as well as on the first foreign markets, in Belgium and Rumania. The company focused increasingly on the oil and plant engineering markets and the production of pressure gauges made entirely from stainless steel became a reality, contributing to the company workforce exceeding one hundred employees. In 1966, Giuseppe Garbarino retired, selling his share to Carlo Barbaglia and Vincenzo Zaveri, who became the sole partners in the company from that moment.
Production in the ’70s
On the basis of the successes achieved, Nuova Fima entered the new decade as the leading Italian manufacturer in the sector, a position it has held ever since and actually strengthened over the years. The 1970s were characterised by decisive entry onto the major European markets and the first non-European sales. The invention of the glycerine bath pressure gauge, which allowed readings even in the case of strong vibrations, involved all the world’s leading manufacturers, among which Nuova Fima stood out. The workforce reached and exceeded two hundred employees and thermometer production also started, at the new Riells i Viabrea plant, in Spain, in 1973.
Towards the end of the 1970s, quality became increasingly important and Nuova Fima began collaborating with the ENEA (National Atomic Energy Agency) on the National Nuclear Energy Development Program and thereby completed the first internal Quality Control System, the basis of development of all subsequent quality plans, which would lead to obtaining of USA 3A certification for health and food products in 1992, ISO 9002 certification in 1995 and, subsequently, ISO 9001:2000.

Some of Nuova Fima products international certificates
The electronic depertment : transmitters calibration
With its establishment on the major world markets and entry on the vendors lists of the world’s leading engineering firms, Nuova Fima became a member of that small group of pressure and temperature instrumentation manufacturers known and accepted in all major international calls for bids.
Expansion also involved other important industrial sectors, such as the foodstuffs industry, electricity production and transmission, water treatment and, in general, all phases of industrial transformation processes.
The second generation entered the company during those years, guaranteeing continuity in management and injecting a heavy dose of enthusiasm and confidence in the future.
In 1987, Nuova Fima manufactured the first electronic pressure transmitter and thereby entered the era of electronics and automation, which also entered its plants on a major scale. The 1990s saw a genuine revolution in production processes, thanks to a demanding program of investments in automating production of the principal components and product assembly and calibration.
From 1995 until 1997, Nuova Fima represented Italy on the European committee for the drafting of the new EN 837 regulations, destined to replace the individual national regulations on pressure and temperature measuring instruments.
Laser technology is used for printing and calibration of “all stainless steel” pressure gauges
The automatic calibration of 63 mm pressure gauges
In 1999, the Zaveri family, Vincenzo with his sons Federico and Stefano, now “broken-in” after fifteen years working at the company, took over the company completely and this marked the beginning of a new era for Nuova Fima coinciding, coincidentally, with the start of the third millennium.
The rest is not history, it is news. Renewed international expansion, the opening of new production and sales branches in Argentina, Brazil and the US, robotisation of the most important production phases and the new range of electronic products have marked the last few years. One particular event during this period must be mentioned: in December, 2002, the chairman of Nuova Fima, Dr. Vincenzo Zaveri, died, after guiding the company for a full 54 years without interruption, followed, just two months later, by Dr. Carlo Barbaglia, his friend and fellow adventurer in life and in work for all those years.
Life goes on, of course, even for Nuova Fima, but it is a great comfort to continue seeking inspiration from those who went before. Here at Nuova Fima, we feel privileged to be continuing their legacy, knowing that we can count on a double dose of help from above.