New important databases are now available online, published by the Archives of Generali and INA-Assitalia.
This time, Generali’s contents are of a special kind: a collection of fire plates and external office signs, accompanied by their digital reproductions.
The fire plates presented in the new database are period items that were once affixed to buildings and houses insured by Generali all around Europe to show that they were insured against the risk of fire. Lions, eagles, bright colors and inscriptions in various languages: fire plates were first introduced in England and later arrived in Trieste thanks to one of the founding fathers of Generali, Giuseppe Lazzaro Morpurgo, for practical reasons (i.e. to show firemen the insured buildings), as well as for communication and advertising purposes. Fire plates constitute a widespread asset of our heritage; indeed, there are still very many of them hanging on the facades of buildings throughout Italy and Europe.
Included in the collection are also some rare external office signs, among which one of the first plates – an enameled earthenware dating back to 1831-1848 – bearing the inscription Assicurazioni Generali Austro-Italiche, the original company name.
INA-Assitalia makes two new and entirely digitized documentary sources available to website visitors.
The first fonds is particularly valuable for economic research: the series of the historical financial statements of INA and its subsidiaries Le Assicurazioni d’italia, Praevidentia and Fiume. These reports and statements contain a vast amount of useful information concerning not only the variation of the company’s corporate representation, but also the development of the imposing building areas and properties of the institute spread throughout Italy.
Available online is also the Fonds of the INA branches in the Colonies and Abroad, whose papers recounts the history of the expansion of the agency network, at its peak between the 1920s and the 1940s, outside of the Italian peninsula, namely in Africa (in particular in Libya, Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia, which all were Italian colonies in those days), in Europe and in Asia.