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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,454
    Country: Wales

    Default 1929 Parma 60 Ton rectangular door for Banco di Chiavari, Genova

    Here's one I've known about for some time but kept quiet until now- there's very little info on it, and what's out there is all in Italian. The claims were so high that I had to get to the bottom of the mystery first- this door is actually described by a few as the world's heaviest vault door to this day, but as I found out it's not quite as cut and dried as that- hence most vault enthusiasts probably don't know of it. In the end it came down to a lucky find of a single picture- one of only a few published in total, but one which confirmed the others I'd found were actually of this door in question.

    Part lost in the mists of time, and part wrapped in confusion over obscure unrecognized weight measurements, this door sure presents a challenge. Built by the Italian manufacturer Parma, in 1929 for the Banco di Chiavari in Genoa, it's a beautifully stepped massive rectangular door with an extremely impressive pressure bar system.

    Parma developed and showed quite a few circular doors throughout the 1920s- one was exhibited at the International Exhibition stand at Barcelona and was apparently bought on the spot by the Banco Credito del Peru. This door is still at the bank in Lima, Peru and in regular use to this day. They also made a massive circular door for the Banco di Napoli which boasted an armour thickness of 80 cm. During this boom-time they also developed their heavy pressure system which apparently was first to attain anywhere near 30,000 kilos. The company won several awards for this and other patented developments.

    The real mystery with the Banco di Chiavari door was the weight- always quoted as 600 quintali- most interpreters and translation systems are unaware of this obscure unit of measurement and therefore translate it as 'tons'. Twice the weight of the entire Cleveland Fed door assembly- I don't think so! But then a picture would obviously speak a thousand words.

    The Parma website shows an old archive picture of what was possibly the main door and emergency door under construction in the factory, but it's marked as early thirties- after the Banco di Chiavari commission, and no mention of it being the amazing one-off for the bank. Surely, if it was they would have taken the customary pictures with all the staff in front of it, and made clear mention it was the one-off produced specifically for the bank. It's a beautiful door and a big one for sure, but I could see this was no where near the 600 ton mark. Here's the pics from parmasicurezza.it:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Eventually I discovered the link that pieced it all together- 'quintali' is an age-old Italian unit of measurement- not an official recognized measurement but still in use in Italy and a few other countries in industry and agriculture. 1 quintali = 100 Kg. Now there we have it. The door weighs 60,000 kilos and not 600 tons! Slight difference in weight but an attractive door all the same- now, if only there was a single picture somewhere which would be double confirmation the archive pictures were of the Banco di Chiavari door- a lot more searching using just about every combo of words in Italian and here it is- photo from fondazioneansaldo.it:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And it's still in use to this day

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,268
    Country: United States

    Default

    Wow, that is impressive. The crane hinge is a bit confusing but that's probably just the angle of view.

    Another web resource: http://www.museoweb.it/parma/scheda1.html. The last image of the third gallery is upside-down:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Huw Eastwood; 26-09-18 at 08:56 AM. Reason: Broken link removed

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    1,454
    Country: Wales

    Default

    Here's an old Parma brochure that appeared for sale a while back which features one similar to the massive Banco Chiavari door.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Huw Eastwood; 26-09-18 at 09:11 AM.
    Huw

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    2
    Country: Netherlands

    Lightbulb

    Very late reply but looking just today at it .The top left picture it looks if the door is backward mounted. It can`t close as the front is pointing inside.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devon UK
    Posts
    3,022
    Country: UK

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aardbewoner1 View Post
    Very late reply but looking just today at it .The top left picture it looks if the door is backward mounted. It can`t close as the front is pointing inside.
    Do you mean the one where the door is hinged on the left rather than the more usual right?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Posts
    1,454
    Country: Wales

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by aardbewoner1 View Post
    Very late reply but looking just today at it .The top left picture it looks if the door is backward mounted. It can`t close as the front is pointing inside.
    The 'backwards' appearance in the first picture is because the door has been pivoted 160 degrees or so on the crane hinge for the picture, making the front pressure system face the frame appeture.
    Huw

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