really started in 1959 when '''Guiseppe Ascorti''' ("Peppino" for his friends) from Cucciago was hired by '''Carlo Scotti''' and his brand '''[[Castello]]''' in nearby Cantu. Since it's foundation in 1947 Castello had substantially contributed to re-gained fame of Italian pipemaking. Talent and assiduity soon made Ascorti one of Scotti's most important pipemakers. A man he counted on for the future. But Ascorti had his own farreaching plan: he wanted to work as a self-employed pipemaker! After his wife Paola had taken over her parent's small greengrocery in the early 60s this plan became more concret. The additional income from the shop enabled him to buy toolery and machines little by little to furnish his own workshop. By the end of 1968 he was ready to go and he left Castello without a prolonged farewell. Furthermore Ascorti succeeded to persuade and wooe away young and highly talented pipemaker '''Luigi [[Radice]]''' (born 1939), who was his next door neighbor in Cucciago, to join him. Carlo Scotti, whom everyone otherwise knows as a perfect gentleman, is reported to have found some drastic expressions for what he thought about them...
Ascorti & Radice started to manufacture pipes
now under their own administration. One of the first , who agreed to store their pipes was '''Gianni Davoli''', proprietor of a tobacco shop in Milan. The situation was perfect : two pipemakers in search of a distributor and a pipe merchant in search of a mainstay brand to market. Davoli - via friends and relations in the States - had made upgradable contacts with US pipe wholesalers and traders. He shipped some pipes across the pond for inspection and received proper feedback for the very high quality of the pipes. So he shortly after offered to be the sole distributor worldwide and Ascorti & Radice happily accepted.
[[Image:Caminetto_27.JPG|right|thumb|Impressive old production Business with hoof]]
Then came the legendary evening Ascorti, Radice and Davoli gathered around the fireplace after a hard day's work enjoying their pipes, a glass of wine and humorous conversation. Davoli is said to be the one who associated the pipes with the fireplace or chimney which is "camino" in Italian. Hence "Caminetto", the diminutive (smaller) singular version of camino, was coined as the brand's name. And Ascorti, Radice and Davoli later became famous as "I tre Camini" - the three chimneys. Maybe, they had more than one glass of wine each, but it's not
finally secured whether the distinctive moustache logo on the stem and the Caminetto slogan "La Pipa del Baffo" - "the pipe with the moustache" - was created the same night. In fact, Ascorti and Radice both wore impressing large moustaches and a pharmacist in the neighborhood had been kidding on them about that. (Davoli, for reasons of corporate identity, later wore a big moustache, too.)
Now Davoli concentrated on marketing the Caminetto brand in the United States. His strategy was as simple as brilliant. There was a remarkable Castello hype at that time.
The pipes were highly sought for but real hard -to -gets due to the fact that production never matched demand. Davoli filled the gap promoting the Caminetto to be absolutely equal to the Castello in terms of quality, but asking only half the price. And best of all: the Caminettos were consignable! The Tinder Box International was contracted as a most potent and nationwide distributor. The success was overwhelming - simply far beyond any expectation . Most popular became the rusticated Business line.
Ironically enough, the increasing demand drove Ascorti and Radice to the limits of their production
soon. The brand had been introduced successfully in Germany and some pipes could be placed in Italy , too. By the end of 1970 further hands were needed. Even Ascorti's elder son Roberto (born 1958; current owner) helped with the stamping and shipping of the pipes when he was still a schoolboy. The most important employee is '''Cesare Vigano''', who has worked for Caminetto / Ascorti for more than thirty years. To bring about a sounder solution Davoli invested a considerable amount of money in modern pipemaking machinery and so he went from distributor to become co-owner of Caminetto. By 1973 he held the vast majority of the company's capital.
The boom, especially in the USA, continued strongly. Production increasing steadily 3,000, 5,000, 7,000 pipes per year were made placing Caminetto at the top of the US sales in their market segment. The
entire thing really went to be a grotesque. The Tinderbox catalogue 1974 celebrates Gianni Davoli as "master pipe maker and designer" and "the sole creator of the Caminetto" ! Not a single word mentions Ascorti or Radice!
btw. In addition Davoli sold a private label brand by Ascorti / Radice named '''Gianni''' for a couple of years in Italy.
fine throughout the 70s. Everyone was hard at work, sales went on well, but then all of a sudden things started brewing and disagreements occurred among the three principles.
The begin of the end.
First Luigi Radice became more and more discontented with the way of pipe manufacturing which became visibly factory like as production was increased furthermore. Caminetto worked along shape numbers and there was no room for his own creative pipemaking and personal developement. He was also afraid that the swollen up production could not be conducive for quality in the long run. Radice started quarreling with Ascorti about the future course of Caminetto . But they weren't able to find a solution and Radice, being an employed pipemaker rather than a partner, could not assert himself.
shared Radice' s scruples about quality to a certain degree and he also wanted to slack off a bit, but Davoli had gained almost total control. He hied Ascorti on. "More! "
The next controversy was about Roberto. The young man had visited a school of arts and meanwhile also ended his service in the army. Roberto didn't want to go to an university. Instead he started helping in the workshop with pipe repairs and making his first few pipes. Now his father wanted to bring him in as a full-employed pipemaker. But Davoli refused strictly as he was afraid to loose influence to a strong alliance between father and son inside the company. Things got worse in 1979. Now the foreseen complaints about descending quality occurred. From the USA off all things. And if some reports are true Carlo Scotti impended to take legal actions because he felt that Caminetto had copied some successful Castello shapes far too exactly. Now Ascorti wanted to get rid of Davoli. But Davoli harshly made plain who was the real boss. I tre Camini disbanded. Luigi Radice had enough in December 1979 and went away. How serious the conflicts were is indicated by the fact that he had no perspective where or how to continue as a pipemaker when he decided to quit. Ascorti vs. Davoli continued for a few more months. The Ascorti family offered to buy the brand, but they couldn't afford it at the time. So Guiseppe Ascorti hastily furnished a new workshop and then he left company which was essentially his own. How bitter! But the complete crew whom he had trained in the old Caminetto workshop followed him. And thus they were able to re-start making pipes within a few weeks in 1980. For merely three months they sold them under the name '''Sergio'''. Only 800 to 1, 000 Sergio pipes were released. Then Giuseppe Ascorti and his son Roberto founded a new company under their own last name. - For the further history see '''[[Ascorti]]'''! Luigi Radice went through huge difficulties, but in the run of 1980 he also managed to establish himself as independent pipemaker . Gianni Davoli, last chimney standing, stayed behind, now owning a pipe workshop without any pipemaker. Strange enough, the old Caminetto workshop caught fire shortly after and burned down to ashes.