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Arnaldo Pocher was born in Trento on 22 September 1911. Son of Giuseppe and Ottavia, he had an older brother, Luigi, and two sisters, Giulia and Maria.

 

His father died on the eve of World War I, when he was just 3 years old. As a result of the entry into the war of Italy, Trentino was on the frontline, and the Pocher family was evacuated to Mittendorff, where Maria died of an illness. Arnaldo could never forget her sister, and in adulthood he dedicated to her a touching reminder.

 

During World War I he returned to Trento, where he completed his education, attending the school for engraver and goldsmith. In 1927 he completed his education and reached in Turin his brother Luigi, who had set up a small electrical industry, but soon he became active in his field at the prestigious engraver’s lab Villarboito. Arnaldo Pocher never forgot his native city, Trento, to which he always remained deeply attached: this is clearly evident in his poems, sketches and paintings dedicated to the monuments and the sights of the town.

 

In 1935/36 he experienced the African war, and the invasion and conquest of Ethiopia; despite this drama, Pocher had interest in this new human, cultural and historical reality.

 

In 1939 he was called to arms. In World War II he was engaged on French and Yugoslavian fronts, and finally, in 1943, in Sicily.

 

In 1937 he married Germana Ormea, who died in 1939 on Christmas Eve.

 

In the immediate post-war period he married his sister-in-law Maria Pia Ormea, Germana’s sister. In 1948 he discovered railway modelling and began his production activity.

 

His wife Maria Pia was the first assistant of the Master, living on his side for about forty years of activity. After his tragic death in a car accident in December 1989, she became a tenacious memory keeper of her husband in the Italian and European railway modelling world. She honoured the Railway Modelling Group of Trento, by allowing it to be dedicated to the memory of Arnaldo Pocher.

 

Since the earliest 50s, the daughter Maria Pia was also involved in her father’s activity, and since 1962 her husband Adelmo Canali worked in the family business. The daughter and the son-in-law were the Master’s collaborators until the end of his activity.

 

In 1953 Pocher announced in an original and entertaining way the birth of his second daughter, Anna, who followed a completely different and brilliant career in the artistic field of dance and theatre.

 

Arnaldo Pocher had a multifaceted artistic personality: this is showed by his various productions in the figurative, panoramic and historical fields.

 

At the origin of every production of Arnaldo Pocher we can find the inspiration, the dream, the amazement, the curiosity; we discover the artist and his personal bounds, and his relationships with his friends: the model railway makers.

 

Arnaldo Pocher was never “an industry man”; he was always a craftsman, an artist, a passionate model maker… without secrets to his friends.

 

In 1959 Italo Briano (father” of the Italian railway modelling and Publisher-Editor of the magazine “Italmodel Railways” that he founded in 1951 and conducted until 1974) presented the activities and the production of Pocher, remarking his “hand-crafted” beginning in 1948-49 … “He showed his first productions to his friends, who asked him to produce them in small series”. Pocher worked in the attic of his house, involving the family (first of all his wife Maria Pia, who worked with him for all life). In 1952 the firm “Micromechanics Pocher and Muratore” s.n.c. was founded; according to Briano, Pocher remained, in his spirit, the artist and model maker, while Muratore was the “down to earth” man, who took care of the budget and the market’s needs.

 

According to me, the railway modelling is true poetry, because it is nothing more than inspiration. I don’t have any timetables when I work, I don’t know any holidays — I work when I feel the need: sometimes I get up in the middle of the night to not drop an inspiration- I’ve never placed the gain factor before the unconditional satisfaction that comes out of the realization of a model, and I try to do much more than what is required… I finished that mould at midnight and I came home singing!”

 

The cars with operators employed in the unloading and in the “animation” of its operations with ingenious mechanisms…

 

The freight wagon with an operator, who overlooks the door and stands on the security bar…

 

The Swiss baggage van, loaded with bicycle and suitcase…

 

The pretty snowploughs with worker, who is sprinkling salt…

 

The maintenance ladders and platforms of airline with technicians in their place. The travel and the train are “Dream” and “Adventure”. And then the models of carriages of CIWL (the mythical International Company Sleeper and Great European Expresses -”Orient Express” in particular): the charming dining cars In teak,

 

The elegant ivory/blue Pullman cars and modern, for that time, sleeping carriages of P type (stainless steel)

 

The strict and elegant French coaches, of 30s, of the PLM and finally, the model of the multi-system electric locomotive for the prestigious Swiss model railway manufacturer “Metropolitan” of FFS: RAe II used from 1961 to 1984 for the prestigious TEE services.

 

The myth of the American “West” relives in the models of locomotives, embellished by details in casting of brass, and in the antique coaches.

 

And not only trains, but also planes and veteran cars: the reproduction of the Fiat G91 T and R of our air force.

 

The model in 1/8 of Fiat F2, winner of the Grand Prix of France in the 1907: 823 pieces made in plastic, brass, steel, iron, copper, aluminium, leather, wood and rubber, released in the 1966.

 

In 1981/83, with the invaluable collaboration of his son-in-law Adelmo Canali, the mythical “ITALA” of the trip Paris-Beijing in the 1907: 600 details in casting of pewter, brass, copper, leather, plastic.

 

The miniature train, masterpiece of fine micromechanics. The model of record locomotive (331 km/h in 1955!!): the CC7107 of the SNCF; hundreds of small details, detached pieces, carefully assembled, embellish this little masterpiece, that hides, on the inside, an innovative and surprising motorization: based on the use of centrifugal clutch couplings allows a faithful reproduction of the gradualness of the stages of acceleration and braking.

 

Pocher was fascinated by the technique, not only rail. A prototype of innovative gear for bicycle.

 

The models of some war machinery, designed by Leonardo da Vinci.

 

In the railway modelling field, the traffic signals with real influence on the gear of small trains and the system of tracks and turnouts with realistic ballast and rails in burnished profile, at that time, in the early 50s, unmatched. On the first model rail track with the third rail “hidden” with points of contact or with the same “nearly invisible”, because replaced with thin wire of steel.

 

Starting from 1961, the accurate reproductions in 1/13 scale of Fiat car, promotional models manufactured for the Turin-based automaker

 

The miniature train, jewel and sculpture… The valuable reproduction of BAYARD, the locomotive of the first Italian railway (1839), the Napoli-Portici. The gilding emphasize the care of the reproduction.

 

The loaded wagon with a bronze horse head, a little wonderful sculpture. The wagon for 25 years of FIMF, for which he had created, at its beginning, the characteristic badge.

 

or fresco, poster and painting. The freight train, in the hands of Pocher, is never anonymous thanks to typology of reproduced wagons and the variety of open wagons.

 

The multi coloured wagons for beer transportation or the isothermals or the refrigerated wagons of the companies in Northern Europe, transform it into a note of colour.

 

The Barnum Circus carriage is a real travelling picture.

 

Some ornaments are real works of fine engraving art, other decorations reveal the other great passion and talent of Arnaldo Pocher: painting; tourist posters, that can be discerned in compartments of the sleeping carriages, and the decoration of the Barnum Circus carriage are nothing more than the small reproduction of watercolours and paintings of the Master.

 

The miniature train and the railway modelling, in general, is love for the story. The carriage of American President Lincoln and its unique wheel arrangement (four attached bogies in two articulated complexes).

 

The dining coaches of CIWL, theatre of the Franco-German armistice in the two world wars.

 

The military figures and their study sketches; the hero of two worlds; the precious antique guns, fine reproductions with brass and wood.

 

The creative and original “three-dimensional pictures” of historical inspiration, but not only, in which he fused his modelling and engraving passion with painting.

 

The drama of the war, that he lived in person, and its devastation and violence. The Panzer Triebwagen, the armoured cars on the rail, the Panzerwagen, the tank “harpoon” to destroy the track,

 

the French Caudron aircraft of World War I,

 

but in many instruments of death there is a sign of hope: the American diesel locomotive Withcomb “Truman”, symbol of reconstruction and new hope.

 

Pocher and the modelling association. At the beginning of his activity, he was a collaborator of Italmodel and he described his “secrets” in the magazine, he was present and enthusiast at the first Congress of 1951 promoted by Italmodel, he worked actively at the birth of the railway modelling association both locally (Modelling Rail Turin Group) and national (Italian Federation of Railway Model Makers. FIMF).

 

The development of productive activities did not depart from the “social” Italian and European Railway Modelling Association (MOROP) life.

 

We recall that Pocher produced the badge sketches for both the 1951 convention and the FIMF (the wheel and the winged wheel, that are still in use today).

 

For his merits in 1976 he was appointed “Master modeller” by FIMF and FS.

 

In 1999, an another Model Maker Master, the Turin-based Sartori-Borotto, remembered Pocher, ten years after his death, as a generous model maker, absolutely not jealous of his undoubted ability; a man that gave to his friends of Turin Railway Modelling Group not only advice but also his models. We recall that the already mentioned “celebration wagon for the 25th anniversary” was donated by Pocher to each of the members, at that time 850!!!

 

At the same time, Pocher was very attentive and curious to know ideas and proposals of other model makers to find new inspiration for his work and to better and better satisfy the demands of model makers (not of an anonymous market).

 

Some examples:

 

In 1951 On Italmodel magazine Briano spoke about signals… immediately Pocher showed his accomplishments.

 

At the congress of 1951 people complained about the low realism of track models of that time, especially those with three rails. And immediately Pocher presented his realistic line with ballast with two rails and a third rail, almost invisible or completely hidden.

 

In 1954 Italmodel introduced the need to clean the tracks through special wagons. At the Fair of Milan (April 54), Pocher showed his prototype.

 

In 1955 the drawings of the coach/snowplough and the bogie/maintenance ladders of the airline appeared on Italmodel. At the Fair of Milan Pocher presented the models.

 

In 1987 the picture of a curious water tank appeared on the monthly Magazine “Mondo Ferroviario”: on the next issue the Pocher reproduction was already presented. And there is no lack of benevolent irony…

 

In 1952 the first revealing stage: into the partnership with Mr. Muratore (who took care of the administration and the commerce), he founded the “Pocher Micromechanics S.N.C.”; tracks, turnouts and signals, produced through innovative building techniques, constituted the first significant productions. In the 1953 the first reproductions of carriages and wagons were added, the manufacture took, by that time, industrial features without losing its characteristics of handmade care of the product.

 

In the manufacturing plant in Foglizzo Street there were about 30 employees, almost entirely female. The deep esteem that Pocher nurtured for his employees and that characterized him throughout his activity in the company, date back to these years.

 

As from 1955 the heyday of Pocher Production culminated in 1963 with the first reproductions of electric locomotives and steam locomotives.

 

Also the success is remarkable on the market abroad: Sweden, Germany and the United States … In 1956, when the Andrea Doria ocean liner sank, it was carrying also a shipment of Pocher models.

 

The prestigious German magazine MIBA (MiniaturBahnen), in 1998, on the 50th anniversary of the magazine, remembered in every issue with an appropriate article a “Pioneer” of railway modelling: the only Italian who was remembered, in the March issue, third of the series, was Arnaldo Pocher, immediately following those dedicated to designers of Maerklin and Trix!

 

Starting in the second half of the 50s, different productions in the field of decorative articles and toy were soon put side by side with the railway modelling production to ensure the full activity of the staff and machinery; promotional items for the Presbitero company and others, carnival masks with Disney subject, car toys, included wire-guided ones.

 

And then from the 60s new modelling frontiers: the reproductions of antique guns and the models of cars. Starting in the 1961 and for over a decade, FIAT entrusted the realization of the promotional models to Pocher company on the occasion of the launch on the market of the new types; the Fiat 1300, the Fiat 850 and as up to the Fiat 132.

 

In 1963 the Pocher company turned into a Company and entered into a partnership with the Rivarossi company. The railway modelling production adapted soon to the technical and commercial standards of the Como company.

 

In the mid-60s the relocation in the new headquarters of via Ambrosini: the number of employees grew up to 120 people at the end of the decade.

 

Even in the new social reality, Arnaldo Pocher did not miss his creative contribution, the beautiful models of locomotives and trains, who made the epic of the West (Genoa-Reno-Bowker) and in 1967 the Ale 803, the only electric train/electric railcars FS at that time on the market.

 

In 1966 it is always thanks to Pocher that the first model in 1/8 of antique car was built: the mythical FIAT F2.

 

Thus, the Master showed the way that production will follow after his definitive exit from the company in 1968. “Pocher” remained the property of Rivarossi trademark. The railway modelling production was released from the catalogue and the models was integrated into the normal production Rivarossi while the Pocher trademark marked the modelling production of the antique cars: after the Alfa 8 c 2300 of 1968, there was the Rolls Royce, the Alfa Gran Spider, the Mercedes Benz Cabriolet, the Bugatti; and prestige cars such as the Porsche 911, the Ferrari Testarossa, the F40 and therefore also of tractors for articulated vehicles: Volvo F12 and F16.

 

Following the destruction by fire of the plant in Ambrosini Street, the activity was transferred to Collegno, and then to Brandizzo, and finally since 1981, with the closure of the Piedmontese manufacturing plant, to Como.

 

The Master took up other activities in the field of toys, but he did not forget the trains: in 1972 with the mark AR PO (ARnaldo POcher) he produced accessories in N scale (1/160).

 

In 1975 the great return. Always with the mark AR PO, Arnaldo Pocher realized beautiful Swiss trains models in scale H0 for the Switzerland company METROPOLITAN and many more.

 

When the collaboration with the Swiss company ended in the early 80s, AR PO resumed its operations in 1985, always his son-in-law Mr. Adelmo Canali at his side; accessories in H0 and small series of exquisite craftsmanship FS goods wagons, in noble metal alloy and wood; the loads of these wagons are really small art works.

 

In 1987/88 he produced other masterpieces in pewter casting for the Swiss company MCA of Lugano, that became the distributor for the ARPO models: the “Truman” diesel used by the Americans in Europe during World War II, the armoured train (Panzer Triebwagen) of the German army, and the 1930-type Zurich tram.

 

In the 1988/1989 he published a rich catalogue of novelties: his clear and full freedom and production autonomy is demonstrated by the revival of some “themes” dear to him: four different types of snowplough, the curious locomotive of Cumana, the armed railcar Libli.

 

In the 1990 he announced the production of the models of locomotives E454 and E492 with photoengraving of brass…

 

 

but these models never saw the light of day.


Cette biographie est tirée du livre :

questo-sono-io-arnaldo-pocher

Présenté par :

Il Gruppo Fermodellistico e Feramatoriale « Arnaldo Pocher » di Trento

Ce livre, écrit par mon ami Pietro Merlo, a été édité avec la participation de la Province Autonome de Trento, à l’occasion des 100 ans de la naissance du Maestro. Il a la particularité d’être en quatre langues, agrémenté de photos et de reproductions diverses, retraçant la vie d’Arnaldo Pocher.

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