SMEG was founded by Vittorio Bertazzoni from Guastalla, a town near Reggio Emilia in northern Italy, and is today one of the country's leading home appliance manufacturers. The Bertazzoni family's entrepreneurial history begins way back in the 17th century. Starting out as blacksmiths, the Bertazzonis soon branched out into building cookers. In the second half of the 1950s, Smeg launched one of the first gas cookers with an automatic switch-on function, an oven safety valve and cooking programmer/timer. In 1963, the laundry and dishwasher range was launched and soon produced a world first in 1970: a 60cm, 14 place setting dishwasher. The mid 1970s heralded the arrival of the very first built-in hobs and ovens and the establishment of partnerships with internationally renowned architects and designers. In the 1990s, Smeg added even more products to its various product lines, including sinks, hoods and coloured retro 50s refrigerators, which were soon to become iconic items all over the globe.Having consolidated its position in the home appliance sector, Smeg has branched out into other areas, creating new professional divisions that handle products for restaurants and instruments for health and medical applications.Today, Smeg is run by the third generation of Bertazzoni entrepreneurs, but it still keeps the memory of its beginnings alive in its Italian name:Smalterie Metallurgiche Emiliane Guastalla, or the "Guastalla Emilia Enamel Works".