The damage of WWII left Italy without reliable roads or transportation systems, as well as a serious fuel shortage. These demands and needs led to a trend toward a smaller, affordable, and fuel efficient transportation and established the zeitgeist that allowed the scooter to succeed as an industrially manufactured product.
In 1946, Piaggio, an Italian aircraft manufacturer, recognized these circumstances and decided to use two of their existing factories to pursue the creation of a simple vehicle for all in postwar Italy. The new Vespa scooter cost only a few hundred dollars and was helped realized in 1946 by Corradino D'Ascanio. The scooters often repurposed various airplane parts like landing wheels and airplane motors, giving the Piaggio Company an opportunity to restart their dramatically slowed post-war production while using their existing manufacturing processes. Years later, the Vespa scooter quickly became popular because it met the population’s demand; it was affordable, fuel efficient and small. The Italians received their particular motor scooter as “both a symbol of reconstruction after the war and an icon of the working class” (Gallagher 210). After selling thousands of scooters in Italy, the Vespa scooter spread throughout Europe and America. The motor-scooter is now a globally embraced form of transportation.
While function and need certainly were a major factor to the motor-scooter’s initial...
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Dick Hebdige, “Travelling Light: One Route into Material Culture.” JSTOR. 7 Mar. 2011
Fallan, Kjetil. "Heresy and heroics: The debate on the alleged 'crisis' in Italian industrial design around 1960." Modern Italy 14.3 (2009): 257-274. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 6 Mar. 2011.
Gallagher, Leigh, and Joshua Levine. "Roman Holiday." Forbes 166.9 (2000): 210-212. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 6 Mar. 2011.
"La Storia." Gruppo Piaggio. Web. 6 Mar. 2011.
Pat Kirkham. "Industrial design." Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online. 7 Mar. 2011
Roman Holiday. Dir. William Wylers. Paramount Pictures, 1953. DVD
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