A tradition of excellence

Evolution of safety
bears our name as well

The origins

Antonio Parma was born in Lainate in 1854. In 1870, when he was only sixteen, he founded the company Antonio Parma and launched the production of small coffers, presses for registers, where copies of letters sent used to be filed, keys and locks, aiming at technical specialization for the implementation of security devices. Success arrived immediately. In a short time, he managed to gather a first group of skilled and specialized technicians and soon, his name as well as his security devices became widely known in Italy, which, in that period, was experiencing a fast economic development further to unification.

The first big order – The Golden Pallium

Within a few years, the name of Antonio Parma acquired a remarkable position in the security products sector, owing to the brilliant solutions, conceived in the implementation of new locking devices. In 1881, the Administration of the Ambrosian Basilica assigned him the task to build a safekeeping system for the famous golden pallium of the main altar of the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio in Milan, a work by Volvinio, dating back to the Carolingian era, a jewel of Longobard gold working of the IX century, adorned with gems and precious stones, standing high on the embossed golden plates. The security issue was solved by Antonio Parma with a mobile armouring, provided with a special closing, which resulted being so effective that it was no longer changed until 1974, when it was replaced by an armoured glass. The coffer is now displayed at the Museum of the Industry and Work in the area around Saronno (MILS), still preserving the original paint, enriched with gold studs and decorations. Supported by the fame gained, the young Antonio Parma launched the production of safes for banks, thus breaking the monopoly, held by foreign manufacturers (German, English and, above all, Austrian), becoming the main player of the rising domestic security manufacturing industry.

The foundation of the brand

The company kept organizing itself and took on increasingly more the features of a metalworking industry with machinery and tools for mass production. The brand of the company Antonio Parma, after its founder, is represented by the image of the sphinx, the guardian of secrets, a perfect symbol of the corporate mission: to assure total inaccessibility.

Industrial development

In 1901, with the electrification of production processes and the municipality of Lainate not being yet supplied with electricity, Antonio transferred the activity to Saronno, where a modern plant for mass production and the construction of complete systems for bank vaults, employing over 100 people, was built. Owing to the quality and to the handiness of its products, the company acquired new customers, even not in the bank sector and abroad as well. In the new plant, mass production of exclusive, unique and uncopiable devices was launched, receiving various acknowledgements, among which the decoration of supplier of the Savoy Royal Family and of the Holy See.

Business consolidation – The second generation

The constant company and business development allowed Parma to become the supplier of the major Italian and foreign banks, of public offices, firms and private individuals. The construction of complete safe deposit box systems for banks, combining the most advanced security features with architectural and design elements, dates back to the first decade of the XX century.
During these years, the sons of Antonio Parma were involved in the family run activity and in 1923, the company, launched towards its second generation, changed its business name in Parma Antonio & Figli.

Cavaliere del Lavoro and social heritage

The company continued its technological development, by enlarging its technical office for the design of new devices, which were progressively patented. All the processing stages (cut, fold, milling, welding, painting, assembly, etc.) were performed inside the plant of Saronno, which employed 300 people. Owing to the prestige gained and to the social function, held by the company, in 1922, a royal decree conferred to Antonio Parma the decoration of Cavaliere del Lavoro, a reward reserved to those who created a flourishing business activity from nothing. Unfortunately, in that same year, Mr. Antonio passed away leaving his sons and employees, but he handed on a company, destined to offer work to thousands of people and to last up to the present day.

International development – Expo Barcelona

Parma Antonio & Figli safes became a symbol of Italian technology and featured in several national and international exhibitions. The company was a leader also in the construction of circular doors for bank vaults, one of which, owing to the technology applied and to its large size, was awarded a prize at the International Exhibition EXPO of Barcelona in 1929, and, then purchased by the Banco de Credito of Peru and installed at its branch in Lima. This is how the first exports to America started: during these years, the company supplied armoured doors for Banca d’Italia and for the central banks of Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. All the Italian diplomatic seats abroad were provided with Parma armoured closets and coffers.

Combining security and design

The company also specialized in metal shelf systems and metal furniture units. Starting from the thirties, it started to collaborate with highly qualified architects to industrialize the creativity of Italian design.
Works in collaboration with the Architect Giò Ponti, such as the Library of the School of Mathematics of the University La Sapienza and the furniture of Palazzo Montecatini in Milan will remain an everlasting proof of the combination, which Parma Antonio & Figli has managed to carry out between art and business.
During these years, the company also produced a rectangular door, weighing 600 quintals for Banco di Chiavari, which is probably still the heaviest one in the world.


With the industrial, financial, business and tourist development of the country, as well as of the public systems, the production of passive security systems (safes, armoured doors, armoured closets, safe deposit boxes, wall-mounted safes) experienced a remarkable development. These are years of intense work and investments, leading Parma to strengthen its own national leadership and to effectively contribute to the reconstruction of the country with advanced security systems.

Economic boom – the third generation

The sixties represented a period of general economic prosperity: wealth and savings promoted the manufacture of new types of security systems, featuring large dimensions and aesthetic architectural characteristics.
Meanwhile, the third generation succeeded in company management and the historical plant of Saronno was backed up by the more modern plant of Solaro, where only large-sized armoured doors and safes were produced.
affianca e sviluppa il più moderno stabilimento di Solaro, nel quale vengono realizzate solo porte corazzate e casseforti di notevoli dimensioni.

Technological avant-garde era and the private market

At a century from its foundation, already provided with a solid international reputation, Parma was at the same time the most important Italian industry and one of the most famous in the world for the production of security systems and safes, always manufactured with original technical enhancements resulting from the constant evolution performed to face and prevent any type of violation. Thanks to the new steel processing methods, device performances were enhanced. Parma evolved the concept of security and combined electronic alarm systems and safes. During these years, specific security products for private individuals were analysed and introduced on the market: in particular, the armoured closet Parmadio and the famous safe Parmula, which obtained an extraordinary success – to such an extent that it is still today in the catalogue – and for which a total sales volume exceeding 15 thousand units is estimated.

The first IT applications

The adoption of new process (numerical control machine tools) and metal sheet cut (laser) technologies combined with the outsourcing of some work stages (such as painting). Advanced protection systems were developed for, in particular, banks, arising from the combination of the traditional “heavy” means and of the light and sophisticated electronic and IT ones. During the nineties, the Professional Technical High School of Saronno was named after the Cavaliere del Lavoro Antonio Parma.

European Certifications

Parma is the first Italian company to receive the UNI certification in the sector of passive security, collaborating directly with its own technicians on the setting of the product standards. During these years, the electronic department developed and the technical office gave rise to ParmaTime, a digital electronic locking system and to the active security sector, which currently offers a wide range of products (alarms, detectors and sensors, video and closed-circuit digital systems, etc.). On October 25 1998, together with other historical companies of the territory, the Museum of Industry and Work of the area surrounding Saronno was opened, featuring preservation, learning and industrial and historical heritage promotion purposes, also with attention towards particularly innovating and qualified contemporary production activities.

The new millennium

The “new trend” of the company was structured on two basic strategies. On one side, strengthening and stabilizing its presence on foreign markets, especially in the nearby South Mediterranean developing countries, changing its approach compared to past occasional interventions. On the other side, producing new value-added products and increasingly more shaped on the logic of global security, promoting the top company in-house know-how. The implementation of the digital system and of network technologies opened new borders.

New collaborations and new vision – the fourth generation

The company rescaled in the new and more modern plant of Solaro. The collaboration with companies, offering ATM services, which require from Parma a constant technological adjustment of their ATM devices and of, by now, out-of-date systems, exploded. In 2010, Parma received from Confindustria the special acknowledgement, reserved to those companies, which were part of the Association System from the start. The fourth generation of the family took on the management of the company, modernised and optimized the processes, giving a new impulse to technological innovation activities and to product customization.

Development on new markets

The growth of the developing countries replenished the demand for increasingly higher security standards, outlining for Parma a scenario full of medium-long term potentialities. Parma Antonio & Figli, owing to its glorious tradition and professionalism, tackled the challenge of the globalised world with the culture of innovation, offering integrated tailor-made and completely “Made in Italy” systems, to preserve the unique feature and the guarantee of quality and absolutely reliable products.