Products sold
by this company:

Active Components

Cable Assemblies

Fiber Manufacturing


Pirelli Cables & Systems
(North America)
700 Industrial Dr.
Lexington, SC 29072 (USA)

Tel: 803-951-4800
Fax: 803-951-4944

In 1872 Giovanni Battista Pirelli, a twenty-four year old engineer, established Pirelli & C. in Milan where, a year later, he set up the first general rubber goods factory. By the end of the century, with the manufacture of insulated telegraph wires (1879), submarine telegraph cables (1886) and the birth of the first bicycle tire (1890), the diversification process had begun. The first passenger car tire dates back to 1901. In the wake of product diversification, encouraged by the Company's fast growth, geographical diversification was pursued: cable factories were opened in Spain (1902), Great Britain (1914) and Argentina (1917).

Between the two World Wars, in 1924, the first oil-filled cable was constructed, a fundamental technological breakthrough. The tire front saw the launch of Superflex Stella Bianca. International expansion continued: in 1929 cables started to be manufactured in Brazil and tires in the United Kingdom. Production of general rubber goods was begun in Spain (1917), Argentina (1919) and Belgium (1938). From the 1920s onwards, racing drivers such as Nuvolari, Ascari and later Fangio, began to score a lengthy series of victories with Pirelli tires; to date the Company boasts over 80 successes in as many international Grand Prix and 6 World Driver Championships, not to mention 18 victories with Alfa Romeo and Ferrari in the legendary "Mille Miglia" race.

After the Second World War, in 1948 the "Cinturato" radial tire was born; it was to leave its mark on tire history. Geographical expansion continued: factories for the manufacture of cables were set up in Canada (1953) and Mexico (1956), general rubber goods in France (1957), tires in Greece and Turkey (1960).

The Sixties and the Seventies saw further expansion. The Veith tire company was acquired in Germany in 1963. Cable manufacturing activities were set up in Peru (1968) and Australia (1975); the power cable activities of General Cable (USA) were purchased in 1978 and those of Trefimetaux in France and the Ivory Coast in 1980. These were also the years of the union with Dunlop (1971): a venture which had the merit of being a forerunner of the concentration trend in rubber industry which was to manifest itself later but which was strongly conditioned by the external environment during its existence. The union was severed in 1980. In those years Pirelli invented the low profile tire which remains the most significant technological innovation since the radial tire. During the same period a real revolution occurred in cables: fiber-optic cables appeared on the scene. It was Pirelli in 1982 who first started producing the fiber in Italy, at Battipaglia. Manufacture was immediately extended to other affiliates abroad.

As for the majority of companies in the West, the '80s were years of new impulse for Pirelli. Many an acquisition was made: Metzeler and Armstrong for tires; for cables, Filergie and, at the beginning of the '90s, Standard telephone Cable's land telecommunication cables activity. In 1989, the Tyre Sector was grouped under Pirelli Tyre Holding N.V., listed on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, and the Cable Sector under Pirelli Cavi S.p.A.

In the early '90s the Group has successfully completed a major turn around which, over and above numerous actions aimed to relaunch its activities, introduced a completely new vision of running the business: Value Based Management.


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