Antonio Carraro, the founder of the compact tractor company of the same name, has sadly passed away days after his 90th birthday.
Mr Carraro, who was born on the 4th of March 1932 in Campodarsego, Padova, established Antonio Carraro in 1960, alongside his father Giovanni and sister Bianca. Focusing on tractors for specialised agriculture, the company quickly became a leading firm in the market.
In 1973, the Centre for Study and Research was founded – a first in the Italian machinery sector – where a team of technicians were dedicated exclusively to the research of innovative vehicles for agriculture and worked in collaboration with universities in n Padova, Bologna, Berlin, Humboldt and Sydney.
By the year 2000, Antonio Carraro was looking to expand, with the construction of new warehouse facilities at Campodarsego. There was also a reorganisation of the production line. This new system, implemented over three years, is said to have brought about a fundamental change in the company, which now works in accordance with the Japanese philosophy “Kaizen” which calls for continual small steps towards improvement.
Mr Carraro remained active in the company until he passed away, constantly following the work of the Research and Development Department. He was easy-going and generous by nature and contributed vigorously to company life.
The firm now employs 500 workers and owns five subsidiaries (Spain, the USA, Turkey, Chile and France) and distributes products to 650 dealers and sales outlets throughout the world.
Mr Carraro was reserved by nature but fascinated by mechanics as well as art and classical music. While he was invited to take on other roles, he never accepted a position outside of his own company, believing it to be incompatible with his industrial activity.
The only exception to this life philosophy came on the occasion of the various presentations of the last book written by Piero Buscaroli entitled “Beethoven”, from 2005, in which the music critic musicale (a great friend of Antonio Carraro) invited him as an expert in Beethoven to be a commentator.
Since the 60s he was the President of Antonio Carraro, and actively involved in the activities of the company’s Research and Development Department.
An excerpt from one of the last interviews with Antonio Carraro
“I am proud that my company stands on the same manufacturing site as my father’s, that dates back to 1910. Our family of blacksmiths, in truth, began in 1875, the year that ownership of the land where we are now was bought by the Carraro family.
“As a child, I worked with my father Giovanni and my siblings. Already at 13, I used to go to agricultural machinery markets in Northern Italy, accompanied on a motorbike by Oscar, my eldest brother. Since then, many things have happened. Today I am proud to say that my company is the top brand in Italy for new registrations in the compact tractor sector and eighth in the world, maybe seventh, in the world.
“During my business activity, I never thought about earning money for its own sake, but rather I wanted to build up my company and to invent each time a new tractor that was more beautiful, more complete, more efficient and more comfortable than the previous model. This is why I like to say that we produce “the most beautiful tractor in the world”.
“Every time we start from the assumption that we want to move forward by constantly improving ourselves. By this, I mean myself and all of my staff, not only in the workshop but all the workers in my company who with their commitment and skill, each and every one of
them, can contribute to the improvement of our company and its products.
“The greatest satisfaction of my life however does not come from my work but from my marriage to Luciana and the birth of my children. I met Luciana when she was really young. My father had employed her as an interpreter because she can speak Italian, English and Arabic, being born in Alessandria in Egypt and having attended an international French school.
“My push towards improvement always came from my family, every one of whom participates in their own way and according to their talents. My children say I am easy-going, even if sometimes a little severe. It’s true: when we talk about mechanics, music or art, I get really excited. Politics doesn’t interest me at all. I have often been invited to actively participate in political life but I have always declined the invitations as I believe it to be incompatible with my business activity.
“After family and tractors, I dedicate all my time to cultivating my interior life by reading, listening to music or visiting places of art, museums but especially churches. I love Padova, my city, beautiful and full of art. Think about Giotto, Mantegna, Sansovino, Veronese, Briosco and Donatello.
“It’s unfortunate that some reconstructions, after the bombardments in the Second World War, were not done very well. I am referring to Corso Milano, for example, I can remember it before the war. It used to be a wonderful street in the city but today it is a somewhat unharmonious combination without any design aim. Or Piazza Spalato (ex Piazza Insurrezione): it should have been the crossroads of all the streets around Padova. It didn’t work out that way. The wild design logic in the economic boom took first place.
“Now, at my age, I have accepted and understand this situation: controversy is pointless. I have become more philosophical: what is done is done. Fortunately, I have had many successes, especially in my industrial activity. My greatest success, for example, is the satisfaction of our customers, as well as the special ones like Al Bano Carrisi, Gianni Morandi, the singer Sting, Mogol, or the prestigious wine producers such as Moët Chandon, Cà Del Bosco, Voerzio (Barolo) and Antinori.
“If I have to admit to an obsession, it is for the product. I have always been convinced that in the creation of a good tractor, nothing should be left to chance because it is the obsessive attention to detail that determines the excellence of the end result. My dream has always been the same: to build up my company by continuing to produce my tractors, in my own country.
“The recession over these years influences us of course but I am an optimist. This is a characteristic that unites art enthusiasts because our love for beautiful things and works of art improves and softens the interior life of every human being. Living in Padova is a double fortune because Padova is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. There is the amazing Prato Della Valle or the Cappella Degli Scrovegni, an extraordinary place that enchants with the beauty of Giotto’s paintings.
“There are the amazing sculptures that Donatello left us after his 11-year stay in Padova. I believe Donatello to be an absolute genius: as well as being an enormous talent as a sculptor he was also an architectural genius in his ability to determine the perfect coordinates where he could place his works of art. Like in the case of the monument to Erasmo da Narni, known commonly as Gattamelata, that stands in front of Saint Anthony’s Cathedral, with its impressive stature. An equestrian monument renders an originally humble space majestic and solemn as an invitation to the faithful to the Franciscan church of 1238, later reconstructed into the Saint Anthony Sanctuary that we admire today.”