The journey of Calamai began in 1878 when Brunetto Calamai, fifteen years old at the time, started along with his brother Michelangelo a wool manufacturing venture near Prato. Initially made up of just 10 workers, after few years the company opened a new wool mill, increasing its size and turnover.
In the early days of the twentieth century, Michelangelo Calamai left the company to start a side business in the raw materials: similarly to the figure of the cenciaiolo (the rag-and-bone man), his idea was to collect both new wool and rags, preparing them to a new textile cycle.
In the late 1920s, over 500 people were employed by Calamai. Thanks particularly to the efforts of Brunetto, workers could benefit from advanced welfare services created and run by the company, such as the elementary school and a private social security institution
In 1921 the company, previously named after the two brothers, changed its denomination into Lanificio Figli di Michelangelo Calamai. Only seven years later, the factory was moved to a large space downtown Prato, on the bank of the Bisenzio river.
Today the company is not incorporated anymore, yet the historical Calamai brand survives within Lanificio Becagli, another prestigious textile group in the Prato area.
Lanificio Becagli, founded by Piero
Becagli in the wake of World War II, is a landmark for textile innovation: after inventing the first version of the
modern fake fur, in the 1980s the company was the first to introduce polar fleece in the Italian market.