The history of the Safilo company
Safilo was founded in 1934 by Guglielmo Tabacchi,who took over the company “Carniel” of Calalzo di Cadore, the first Italian eyewear factory, born in 1878. It produces graduated and bifocal lenses, along with a wide range of sunglasses and eye-frames. Famous for those in celluloid, thermoplastic material, inspired by the round shape of the glasses of Harold Lloyd, early 20th century American silent movie star.
Production grew and in the 1970s it was moved to Longarone while the administrative headquarters were Padua. The company remained owned by the Tabacchi family until the 1990s when it was listed on the stock exchange and passed to the Dutch fund “Hal Investments” which became the main shareholder.
Today the Safilo Group has seven production facilities, four of which are in Italy and three abroad and distributes its glasses all over the world. In the product portfolio there are both own brands (Carrera, Polaroid, Smith, Safilo and Oxydo) and licensed, among those are Fendi, BOSS, Fossil, Moschino, Marc Jacobs, Max Mara and Tommy Hilfiger.
Safilo production over the years
1940s: it was the difficult period of German occupation. Safilo produced a single model of glasses with a celluloid frame in two color variants – amber and red Havana – intended exclusively for the German market.
1950s: Safilo glasses are inspired by post-war American Style, with special frames such as the butterfly model of Hollywood stars but also for sports use. The brand presents in this period the first models designed to also ensure technical performance.
1960s: these were the years of the economic boom in Italy. The greater well-being also pushed Safilo to expand his collection. The shapes became wide and the glasses were trending. The trend is no longer only “useful” but also “pleasant”. Models like Goldman or UFO have established themselves as milestones of this decade.
1970s: They revolved around everything that was innovative. Safilo created the Elasta® hinge which allows outward rod stresses without the glasses changing their shape, maintaining the focal point and ensuring maximum comfort.
1980s: The market wantes lighter, longer-lasting glasses. The use of titanium – lightweight, durable and hypoallergenic material – begins to appear in the models that Safilo launched in recent years.
The 21st century opens with eyeglasses to surprise and stand out. Safilo also embraced this trend and also adds to his collections more original and glamorous models such as the Safilo Diamonds lines, glasses embellished with crystals and rhinestones, and Safilo Design, with more current and strict lines.
In over 80 years of history, the Safilo brand has always given great value to creativity and research to combine the fashion component of glasses ans technological innovation. One example of this is Safilo’s patent for Optyl, one of the materials for frames with extraordinary technical qualities.