Smyth’s initial production of sewing machines for books began in 1879 when the Irish-American Mr. David McConnell Smyth (1833 – 1907) obtained his first patent and in 1882 the Smyth Manufacturing Company in Hartford, USA was founded.
Mr. Mc Connell was a prolific inventor pioneering the design of bookbinding machines. In the same year as Smyth Manufacturing Company di Hartford (U.S.A.) was founded, the production of sewing machines began making significant progress in bookbinding technology. The serial production began with the famous book sewing machines equipped with curved needles. This technical feature distinguished Smyth for 46 years. The curved needle Smyth Sewers were on the market until 1928 when the Smyth Company offered its first straight needle semi-automatic sewing machine No. 12 getting an immediate market success. In 1941, as the demand for high-speed “two up” size straight needle book sewers grew, the new No. 18 was introduced in the market. A few years later, in 1945, Smyth developed fully automatic models of the No. 12 and No. 18.
1 June 1958
European Smyth Ltd (Smyth Europea S.p.A) was established on June 1st, 1958. The company started as the result of a “joint venture” of Italian traders as: Lorenzo Depetris, Osvaldo Tealdi, Casa Editrice Marietti, Smyth Manufacturing Co. and Smyth Horne Ltd. (England).
The most important purpose of the new company was the production of the famous book sewing machines Smyth model 12 and 18 were equipped with manual feeding of signatures on the fixed saddle. The two models manufactured with metric systems for the European market were called FRECCIA 14 and FRECCIA 20 and earned an immediate market success.
The name Freccia, identified by the arch man who hits the bull’s-eye on the Smyth logo, had the goal to make the run speed of the machine up to 100cycles/min. This was a very important technical feature that gave superiority to the Smyth sewer compared with other European manufacturers. In 1959 the first series of ten Freccia 14 book sewer was produced and installed in Italy. Four of them were installed to Legatoria Torriani in Milan the most distinguished binding house in Milan at that time.
From 1960s up today
These are the years in which Smyth introduced the book sewing machine SM14 and SM20 to the market equipped with an automatic feeder, horizontal loading, with 2 openings up + 2 openings down. This allowed for increasing the book sewer production capacity. In the same period Smyth presented the European version of the Automatic Casemaker to the market. The machine was equipped with an automatic board feeder to produce hard cover books at a speed up to 20 cycles/min.
In the early 1970s, the Smyth Manufacturing Company decided to cease their manufacturing activity in the U.S., transferring the ownership drawings and know-how to Smyth European Ltd. Having obtained company independence, Smyth European S.p.A. continued their expansion vigorously, replacing the American parent company in the world market – first in the field of thread sewing machines and later in the bookbinding machine production.
In the 1970s for Smyth, and for many other manufacturers of this period, it was important and necessary to invest in “technology” to support the market efforts and respond to the increasing market request and consequently convinced the company to begin a new production process with the purchase of highly technological equipment to warrant considerable production and quality efficiency.
1974 was the year that the first “HIGH SPEED” MAXI 170 automatic book sewing machine. It was designed and manufactured to sew two signatures in one cycle; the Hard Cover Line satisfied all production requirements for the book size specifications, production speed and strength.
To complete the Hard Cover book production cycle in 1980s Smyth introduced in the market the new Book Back Gluing machine mod. Freccia M531. It came equipped with double PVA (cold glue) stations, the High Frequency Dryer and the Gauze Station.
As the market continuously moved forward looking for higher performance machines Smyth Europea manufactured the sewing machines F130 and F120. These two models represented the beginning of the modern sewing line together with another sewing machine for the over size book production called Magnum 75.
During this year Smyth strived to build a company that was unequalled. To achieve this they decided to invest in a renewal program that began with the development and realisation of the new feeder 4D. This automatic signature feeder which held many design patents, is valued by the customer due to the exceptional functional technical features.
The new INTEGRATED SEWING SYSTEM F150 4D showcased the new technology of the automatic feeder 4D was proudly introduced at GRAFITALIA 1990. This integrated sewing system connected the 4D feeder with the consolidated technology of the Smyth sewing machine.
In 1990s the introduction to the market of the newest sewing machines F180 4D (1992) and the large size F150 4D L represented a very important moment in the development of Smyth European Industry.
In 1993 Smyth Europea Industry presented to the market an integrated system called SYSTEMA that connects 2 or more 4D book sewing machines to the latest Gatherer mod. Freccia “P12”.
To confirm the validity of the AUTOMATION project, in 1994 Smyth offered to the market another gathering and sewing line “UNIT” consisting of a high speed sewing machine mod. F180 connected in line with a (12) vertical loading station Gatherer.
Smyth European Industry, enjoyed positive sales and decided to re-organise the company structure to face the challenges of the year 2000 more enthusiastically. So Smyth s.r.l. was established, a company that has the aim to develop new products and new markets, building up a totally new factory in Coniolo (AL)