Ditella, Torcuato (1892–1948)

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Ditella, Torcuato (1892–1948)

Torcuato DiTella (b. 15 May 1892; d. 22 July 1948), Argentine entrepreneur. Until age thirteen DiTella lived in Italy, at which time his family immigrated to Argentina. His entrepreneurial career was launched in 1910, when he linked his market study of the demand for dough-kneading machines to a mechanic who could build a machine capable of competing with imported technology. Operating from a converted garage, the fledgling business, which would eventually operate under the name S.I.A.M. (Sección Industria Amasadoras Mecánicas), expanded rapidly over the next five years.

DiTella's entrepreneurial career was interrupted by service with the Italian army in World War I. In 1919 he returned to Argentina, where he confronted a stagnant economy, sluggish market, and volatile labor force. The protectionist economic policies of the government and a labor policy that ranged from firing troublesome personnel to co-opting others through promotion allowed DiTella to overcome the difficulties. With an unmatched ability to take advantage of every opportunity and to anticipate markets, he expanded his operations. Gasoline pumps were added to bakery machinery, and by the end of the 1920s S.I.A.M.'s success was symbolic of the emergence of industry in Argentina. Management became the province of the extended DiTella family, which could be trusted to administer and operate the company. DiTella expanded his operations to Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, and, for a while, London. By the end of the 1930s, S.I.A.M. had diversified into household appliances. Operating in the style of a patrón, DiTella the man became "an integrating symbol for the company."

As a successful businessman, DiTella was sought out for a variety of national and international roles. He fought against the spread of fascism, both in Italy and Argentina, wrote several books, represented Argentina at important international meetings, and between 1944 and 1948 was a professor of economics and industrial organization at the University of Buenos Aires. He was a patron of the arts and owner of an experimental dairy farm.

See alsoArgentina, Organizations: American Industrial Society for Machinery (SIAM) .


Thomas C. Cochran and Ruben E. Reina, Entrepreneurship in Argentine Culture: Torcuato Di Tella and S.I.A.M. (1962).

Guido Di Tella, and Manuel Zymelman, Las etapas del desarrollo económico argentino (1967).

Additional Bibliography

Alcorta, Rodrigo. "'El Henry Ford argentino': Torquato di Tella; de los Apeninos a los Andes." Todo Es Historia 26 (May 1993): 64-67.

Di Tella, Torcuato S. Torcuato Di Tella: industria y política. Buenos Aires: Tesis, Grupo Editorial Norma, 1993.

                                             Paul Goodwin