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The real story of how the Original Pleated Insect Screen
was invented

Early 1980s – A very successful start


During the 1980s, Sergio Marcantoni was an employee of the Italian Government and worked at the Metallurgic Experimental Centre, it was a nice environment, since his work was to do with research and at the same time he had a salary and benefits that meant he had nothing to worry about. Sergio, at the age of 35, already had a son, Paolo, and his wife was expecting their second child, Marco. But he wasn’t satisfied with his job.

The bold decision that rocked the boat


This is what he told me:
“In 1983, I decided to resign. I remember that the day I went to hand in my notice, I kept asking myself:
–Why am I doing this? –Why am I doing this? During the 11 years spent and the Metallurgic Experimental Centre I had been treated very well. I travelled by plane, stayed in fantastic hotels, ate in great restaurants and the work environment was stimulating. Despite all this, I took a leap in the dark, and I immediately invested my entire severance pay in a new adventure. My own company.
La mia azienda”

During the 1990s, things looked really good


Sergio had a small company that sold indoor curtain accessories.
Things were looking good; his clients were in Rome and its surrounding area and in just a few years he saved enough money which he decided to invest entirely in his first invention: curtain rings.
Actually, curtain rings already existed, but he had conceived a new type.

In 2000, Chinese imitations came on the market; they were not good quality, but they were cheap


The problems started years later, once the patent expired, and eastern producers started copying the idea and sales dropped drastically.
“I have always invested the majority of my resources in the company” – says Sergio Marcantoni – “I remember how worried I was when they started imitating our product and sales dropped. I couldn’t eat, I wouldn't talk to my family, at work I tried to cheer things up, but I was hiding the truth.
Then I decided to play my last card”
His last card was the pleated insect screen that he had developed during the 1990s but had never finalised. This was after year 2000 and he needed a miracle.

Are insect screens our hero’s secret weapon?


Sergio was already selling roll-up insect screens, bought from large producers who had now become his competitors. The need to create a new product derived from the problems with these insect screens. This is what he told us: “The biggest problem with the roll-up insect screens was, and still is, the energy the spring mechanism accumulates when they are opened and releases when closed, they are very dangerous!
I realised that if I created a system similar to plisse curtains, I could allow the insect screens to stop at any point, without creating a trap, like the roll-up insect screens still are today.
At first, I thought of making them so that they could be opened and closed like plisse curtains, by pulling them up and down; but the problem was making sure they could be operated easily, and this was not possible at all heights. So, I decided to focus on a sideways opening, which could be stopped at any point, did not reopen and was safe for all to use.
I remember working on the project every night, nonstop, after exhausting days at work, and sleepless nights thinking about my latest creation.
Then the penny dropped. And all was clear.
It took me 12 years to finalise my project”.

 The first Italian pleated insect screen was born


“In 2003, my idea slowly started taking shape; I remember investing all I had (as usual) to create the plastic moulds for the accessories, the aluminium matrixes and stocking the warehouse with all the material. Only one thing was missing.

The net.

I went to a well-established Italian company, used to dealing with pleated polyester. We kept in contact for a year and after a number of experiments on the materials, we arranged for the first supply to be delivered in January 2004. Meanwhile, I had deposited the patent and started working on the sales network and investing in advertising, registering the name of my new creation: Blockfly.”

This is when the bad guy tries to get rid of our hero


“In early January 2004, I received a call from the administration department of the supplier who was supposed to provide the pleated net. The only thing missing! Excited, I asked over the phone:
– So?! Are you ready to send the net?

At the other end of the line a cold voice just said:

– No, I am not sending anything because I cannot pleat the net

– What am I supposed to do now?

I was ruined.

R U I N E D


I got no reply, they did not care about my desperate situation.
This was one of the worst moments of my life. I stared at my desk in desperation.
To this day, I still feel sick when I think about it.
I thought about all I had risked up till then, at the fact that 15 years earlier I had quit a good job, I thought of my family and all the people in the company that were relying on me. The worst thoughts started to haunt me”.

The administration department of this company is the bad guy of this story.

Sergio still hurts when he tells the story, but luckily Italian entrepreneurs always have a secret weapon.

Our hero gets back to his feet


After finding an “emergency” supplier for the pleated net, here is what he did:

“I decided to buy a pleating machine and work out how to pleat the net in house.

I no longer wanted to be a victim of incompetent third parties.

Today, I am still the only pleated insect screen manufacturer to have in-house pleating machines (5 machines), everyone else buys ready-made pleated nets. .

This is the most important challenge I have ever won; nobody has been able to achieve the same results. This has allowed me to invent a new type of pleated net, which is water resistant and dirt repellent, that we called IdroScreen™.
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