3T was originally called Tecnologia del Tubo Torinese (Turin Tube Technology), taking its name from the city of Turin, where it was founded in 1961 by Mario Dedioniggi.
Dedioniggi was a talented engineer. Clever at manipulating and bending steel tubes, he was taken on as a young man by the Ambrosio concern (which continues to this day). There, he learned to fashion the bars and stems desired by racing cyclists. The resurgence of cycle sport in the 1950s drove demand for top-quality racing equipment, and the ambitious Dedioniggi spotted his opportunity.
After 10 years at Ambrosio, he left the firm to set up shop on his own. The new enterprise had a three-room warehouse in Turin, one employee, and a manual tube-bending machine. Soon, the grandiose name gave way to the easier 3TTT.
Early on, Dedioniggi took a key decision to switch production to aluminum alloys. He discovered that critical components such as bars, stems and seat pillars, until then made of lightweight steels, could be made much lighter in aluminum alloy, with no loss of strength. He experimented with new shapes and new alloys, attracting an élite clientele among Italian cycle racers.
He also diversified the product line. In 1970, 3TTT ski poles, crafted in the then-new Ergal alloy (AL 7075), became top sellers all over Europe. 3TTT leather bicycle saddles were built on aluminum frames and were renowned for their light weight and quality.
But it was the handlebars that made 3TTT famous. Mario Dedioniggi's ideas were simple and brilliant. The world's first Ergal bar, the 250 g Superleggera, appeared in 1975. It is still admired more than 30 years later. 3T created the first time-trial bar in the now-ubiquitous 'bullhorn' shape for Francesco Moser in 1984. He used it to set a new world hour record of 51.151 km (31.784 miles), and it became known as the 51' 151".
At the height of his fame, Dedioniggi quit and sold his company. But his successors took 3T from strength to strength, continuing to produce elegant bars, stems and seat pillars, beautifully crafted from the lightest alloys.
In 1999, the Mutant racing stem became the first bicycle stem ever to be recognized by an ID International Design award. Even the format and graphic design of 3T's packaging was admired for its originality and elegance. Not least, 3T became renowned for simply offering its customers more – a five-year owner's warranty was an industry first.
This is the tradition that informs 3T today, grown from its artisanal local roots into a hi-tech, global enterprise.
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