Once upon a time there was Lino, the father of VITALI dental units
Inheriting a dental unit business at the age of 23 and being able to run it with the help of employees alone seems incredible today! Yet. Marco Vitali has been able to do so. He claims to have succeeded because he had a great example, that of his father. We will now try to show you that, all things considered, Marco is indeed right.
A pioneer in dental equipment
Lino Vitali launched his business in 1953, when he began providing technical assistance to the University of Bologna’s Dental Clinic. His workshop for the maintenance of dental equipment was located in the centre of Bologna. His first lathe, which was used to make some mechanical components, is still in working order and reminds us of those times. Then came the 1960s, the years of the Italian economic boom: Bologna had an exceptional manufacturing tradition and Lino decided to shift from maintenance to the in-house production of dental equipment. In 1963 he created the SUPRA model, a high-speed dentist’s drill on wheels that was one of the first products to bear the VITALI brand.
A friendly letter to Lino Vitali from a well-known dental practice in Bologna, a client of VITALI, dates back to those years. Among other things, the owner of the practice requested that the practice equipment be serviced during the holiday period and took the opportunity to express his full satisfaction with the excellent quality of the VITALI products, which he wrote had “never caused him the slightest inconvenience”.
The birth of the first VITALI dental units
The famous 1968 was a historical year also for VITALI. In fact, Lino built his first dental unit precisely that year, in his workshop in via San Vitale. It was called UNICUM, as it combined an oil-hydraulic chair with a column-type cuspidor. It was a very modern piece of equipment, with highly original technical solutions. In the early seventies Lino bought a building in Castel Maggiore, outside Bologna. It was here that Lino introduced a second historical turning point for the company, creating what at the time seemed to be the perfect dental unit: a unit in which the cuspidor was connected directly to the chair, integrating upward and downward movements. These were the years when Marco, at a very young age, began to work in his father’s company. He remembers him as being friendly, collaborative, honest and, above all, ingenious in finding better solutions. Lino’s generation was the one that got Italy moving again after the devastation of the war. Nowadays you need a business plan to launch a new company, while back then it was all about rolling up your sleeves and looking ahead. With impetus, passion and courage.
The great legacy of Lino Vitali
A few years later Lino died prematurely. It was 1983 and 30 years had passed since the company had taken its first steps. Lino left a huge void. Marco, however, succeeded in what seemed an impossible task. Following in his father’s footsteps and holding on tightly to both customers and employees, he took over the reins of the company and within a few years he was able to increase the reputation and distribution of VITALI dental units both in Italy and abroad.My father – as Marco acknowledges today – was able to pass on to me his passion for his work which, together with my distinct propensity for mechanics, prompted me to continue his business, improving and adapting it over time. This is the story of Lino, a man of great human and professional depth who even today, almost forty years later, is still remembered by some as the father of long-lasting dental units… As he himself liked to say.