history - the story of garbolino

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The story of Garbolino started in 1945. In this year, the company was launched by the owner Henri Garbolino just outside Paris, France manufacturing alloy fishing poles. At this time, these poles looked like something out of this world and were quite unbelievable to the fisherman of the day!

However odd they may have appeared, the utilisation of these industrial methods enabled Garbolino to continue to manufacture their poles. Originally employing just 35 people, Garbolino eventually became a limited company in 1957.

1960 saw the first great innovation. Glass fibre appeared on the market and Garbolino integrated this new process into the manufacture of their poles. In 1962 Garbolino adapted itself to the impregnation of glass and resin. The company mastered this process freeing itself from the constraints of manufacturing in this material. This stage of the manufacture of fishing poles was integrated into the company. This was a very important industrial step, representing a great financial advantage and had confirmed the know how of Garbolino who became the front-runners in pole fishing technology.
Amongst many other benefits of glass fibre it meant that Garbolino could now make longer and lighter poles.

In 1965, Garbolino completely abandoned the use of metal in their production, and instead focussed on glass fibre. Four years later, the factory was transferred  half way between Paris and Bordeaux, this site was perfectly positioned close to the road infrastructure for ease of shipping. The company now employed 40 people.

In 1974, Mr Henri Garbolino, founder of the company retired. He sold his holding in the company to the mighty VMC known in the world of fishing for its manufacture of fishing hooks.

1977 was a very important year in the world of fishing for the angler and the manufacturer. The first Carbon Fibre rods and poles appeared. The use of synthetic fibres and high technology revolutionised the manufacturing process. This new material allowed fishing poles to go to the ‘next level’, allowing poles to become longer, slimmer and lighter.

At the start of the 80’s, the weight of imports from the Far East in Europe was starting to be felt. Many manufacturers were hit hard as a wave of low priced Carbon Fibre poles and rods flooded the market. Garbolino could not overcome this new idea, and proceeded to adapt its structure. Of the183 employees in March 1981, only 75 were left in 1988. During these crisis years, Garbolino diversified its business interests beyond that of fishing poles and started to produce other sporting products in Carbon Fibre, such as bicycles, skis, canoes, oars and masts. Other manufacturers at this time chose to diversify within the fishing industry. This move proved to be more difficult as prices were forced lower and lower resulting on occasion in poorer quality products and ultimately harming the image of fishing.

1988 was a major year for Garbolino. Mr Paul –Henri Viellard, former member of the holding company VMC bought the company. This was also the birth of a new technological breakthrough called the Viper Process®. The manufacture no longer based itself on sheets of carbon fibre; the strands of carbon fibre criss-crossing and weaving together on the mandrel formed the finished product. This process optimised manufacture and standards of finish creating extremely strong and durable poles.The Viper Process® system is completely automated and controlled by computer, however the production of carbon fibre sheets remained entirely manual.

By 1999 Garbolino began to penetrate the top end competition pole market using high quality carbon THM & THMS and using a specially built machine for transforming carbon fibre strands into sheet carbon fibre. This seriously high technology – certified ISO 9001 – 2000, allowed Garbolino to produce our own impregnated carbon fibre sheets of different weights and standards in the manufacture of competition poles from 11.5m to 16m in length destined for markets all over Europe.   

Still in 1999, Garbolino opened an additional factory in Modra, close to the Slovakian capital of Bratislava. By using the technology and materials from France as well as training the Slovakian work force at the factory in France, Modra produce the only poles “Made In Europe” capable of competing against the flood of poles from China. The factory is still thriving today and is capable of making very high quality high modulus poles if required.
Today Garbolino has forged a position within the industry by investing heavily in the competition fishing sector and other high level sports. In this arena, to remain at the top one needs to constantly re-evaluate and adapt to the needs of the angler, driving Garbolino to continually research higher and higher quality products.

Garbolino is the official supplier to the French National Team holding the greatest European record in competition fishing.