In the years of Italian economic growth the first pilots protected themselves with a simple leather cap.
The next step, vulcanised fibre, came in the fifties. The shell was made by die cutting the appropriate shape out of a special resinimpregnated fabric, hardening it using a catalyst and then forming it using aluminium moulds.
It was an entirely manual process, also used in yachting at the time, and difficult to carry out because the material was so hard.
When a number of competitors ganged up to keep production of this material to themselves, Amisano was forced to use a fi bre known as “kerizzata”.
It was then that Gino, infuriated, hit upon a slogan to advertise the superiority of his “kappa” fibre over its rival - “il casco AGV Kappa tutto spacca” or “the AGV Kappa helmet beats them all”.
The image borrowed from the battering rams used to break down the gates of ancient cities under siege.
As Italy worked tenaciously to rebuild its economy after the war, Gino Amisano and his wife led the way. They practically lived in the factory, arriving at seven in the morning and often staying there until after midnight. They were mostly involved in making the company’s saddles, including those supplied as original equipment on Vespas, because that was where their profits lay.
1954 saw the creation of the first modern Italian helmet, made of fibreglass. The shells were initially made by a factory in Grugliasco which also made the fi breglass front body panels for the Piaggio Ape.
Amisano had the idea of using the same technique to make a helmet, leading to the creation of a model known as the 160, which continued to adopt the classic pudding-bowl shape with a criss-cross inner harness that held it on the riders held. It was a great success.
The first racer to use one on the track was Carlo Bandirola, riding for MV Agusta. And he did so free of charge. Luciana Amisano was in charge of Development, while Gino took care of Marketing, and they both looked after Production.
Some of the shells were made in the factory and the finished product was assembled there. The linings, on the other hand, were made outside the factory. Amisano’s workers would take the harness webbing home with them when their shifts were over and cut, stitch and glue the pieces together..