Società Italiana Ernesto Breda

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Società Italiana Ernesto Breda
Founded1886; 137 years ago (1886)
Defunct2001; 22 years ago (2001)
Fatemerged with Gio. Ansaldo & C. to form AnsaldoBreda
HeadquartersMilan, Italy
ProductsTransport aircraft
Experimental planes
Air force trainers
SubsidiariesBreda Meccanica Bresciana

Società Italiana Ernesto Breda (lit.'Ernesto Breda Italian Society'), more usually referred to simply as Breda, was an Italian mechanical manufacturing company founded by Ernesto Breda in Milan in 1886.


The firm was founded by Ernesto Breda in Milan in 1886. It originally manufactured locomotives and other railway machinery, but later branched out into armaments and aircraft. Occasionally, not continuously, the company also built trolleybuses. In 1935, it acquired the railway division of Officine Ferroviarie Meridionali and, soon afterwards, the aircraft division of the same company.

Breda-designed machine guns such as the Breda Model 30 and Breda Model 37 were standard issue weapons for the Royal Italian Army during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, the Italian Invasion of Albania and World War 2.[1] At the peak of its wartime production, the company had 26,000 employees.[2] By 1954, its workforce had been reduced to around 8,000.[2]

In 1962, Breda was nationalised as part of EFIM, but was liquidated in the 1990s. The train and tram manufacturing division fused with Ansaldo to form AnsaldoBreda, the armaments division became an independent entity as Breda Meccanica Bresciana, as did the research division as Istituto Scientifico Breda.


Warrant of the Società Italiana Ernesto Breda per Costruzioni Meccaniche, issued 1. February 1929

Aircraft Products[edit]

Rolling stock products[edit]

Ernesto Breda, c. 1920


DMU and EMU[edit]


Tram and light rail[edit]


The production of trolleybuses was a small part of Breda's output, carried out through its subsidiary Breda Costruzioni Ferroviarie (it), and was not under way continuously. Between 1936 and 1940, the company built a total of 28 trolleybuses, most for the Rome system but including six for Genoa.[4] At various times between 1938 and 1956, more trolleybuses were built, but totalling only 16. Production resumed in 1988. Almost all of Breda's customers for trolleybuses were Italian trolleybus systems, but a notable exception was an order of 236 dual-mode buses that Breda built for the Seattle system between 1988 and 1991.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Small Arms Archives".
  2. ^ a b Hoffman, Michael L. (October 8, 1954). "Breda Industries of Italy Revived". The New York Times. Section 1, p. 5. Retrieved 2022-12-07.
  3. ^ "old STEAM LOCOMOTIVES in South Africa". July 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-12.
  4. ^ a b Murray, Alan (2000). World Trolleybus Encyclopaedia. Yateley, Hampshire, UK: Trolleybooks. p. 106. ISBN 0-904235-18-1.

Further reading[edit]

  • Luigi Giugni, Le imprese a partecipazione statale, Naples, Jovene, 1972
  • Pasquale Saraceno, Il sistema delle imprese a partecipazione statale nell'esperienza italiana, Milano, Giuffrè, 1975
  • Bruno Amoroso - Ole Jess Olsen, Lo stato imprenditore, Bari, Laterza, 1978
  • Nico Perrone, Il dissesto programmato. Le partecipazioni statali nel sistema di consenso democristiano, Bari, Dedalo, 1991
  • Nico Perrone, Italian and American Patterns in a Conflictive Development, Roskilde, Roskilde Universitetscenter, 1992
  • La Breda produce, mostra fotografica, dal sito dell’Istituto per la Storia dell’Età Contemporanea [1]
  • La linea del fuoco[2]
  • Gunston, Bill (1993). World Encyclopedia of Aircraft Manufacturers. Annapolis: Naval Institute Press. p. 56.

External links[edit]