On Tuesday, 29 September 1908, Il Biellese reported:
Everyone from Pratrivero was there, of course, from the town doctor and parish priest to the pharmacist and the director of the nearest bank … “Coordinator” of this convivial encounter on the previous Sunday, 27 September, was Secondino Barberis Vignola, town council member in Trivero. Unfortunately it hadn’t been possible to host the event locally, due to the lack of a … venue. There may have been a wool mill now, but there still wasn’t a halfway-decent restaurant. And such an event could not be held in any old winemakers’ cooperative or tavern. The choice inevitably fell on Valle Mosso.
The station of Valle Mosso and the Albergo Centrale, at the time of the banquet for the new Barberis Canonico factory.
So much said in so few words! The prestigious names, the honours cleverly meted out to reinforce existing hierarchies, the allusion to the hoped-for opening of the new road. No official banquet could do without the highlighting of the needs of businessmen that the State had yet to meet. In this case, a stretch of road would redeem, no less, would liberate from the sin of infrastructural isolation a territory that was proving itself to be so dynamic and hard-working. Next to take the floor was Valle Mosso industrialist Alfonso Picco, “who with elegant words unfurled a winged hymn to the harmony of the celebration, the alacrity of Pratrivero’s citizens, Biella’s industry, and to the greatness of the Nation”. Next up was Father Ercole Debernardi, the parish priest. He underlined the brotherhood that united all of those present and exalted Pratrivero
Father Debernardi’s lengthy homily had certainly raised a few eyebrows. Conscious of this, the pharmacist Guelpa kept his remarks brief.
Umberto Pipia, professor at the University of Genoa and well-known politician even outside the Biella region, knew he was touching on a delicate subject. But it’s around such delicate subjects that consensus is built … Finally it was Giuseppe Barberis Canonico’s turn to speak. His reputation as a man of few words was well known, and the fact that he preferred to let his actions speak for him was not contradicted on this occasion. He pronounced “few but well-chosen words”. Most likely, he simply offered his sincere thanks, his mind already focused on the following day, a Monday, when work would require his full concentration. All the more so with a new factory to get off the ground. Just under two hundred employees, 120 of them women, who spun, wove and – almost always – dyed cotton. Wool was not the house specialty at the time.
This otherwise undefined “Committee” must have been a cross between a promotional association and a civic committee that worked on behalf of Pratrivero. It may even have harboured aims of “seceding” from Trivero, perhaps in league with Ponzone … In any case, the inauguration of Giuseppe Barberis Canonico’s factory was an important occasion for proving that they were up to the task.
Giuseppe Barberis Canonico, who was forty-eight years old at the time and still had thirty more to live, was now on his own. His brother Valerio was gone. What happened to him remains to be seen. In the chronicles of that 27 September 1908, his name is never mentioned.
The months and years to come were a time of intense activity. The new plant’s machines and systems were improved and expanded almost immediately. But this, too, is another story.