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356. agustín zamboni

Agustín Zamboni, Recoleta Cemetery

Born in Italy in 1883, Agustín Zamboni studied in Milan & accepted a position as CEO of the government-owned electric company in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1907. Eight years later, he crossed the river & occupied the same position for the Compañí­a Italo-Argentina de Electricidad (CIAE). When CIAE President Juan Carosio died in 1959, Zamboni took over that post as well. In 1964 he renounced the position of CEO but remained president of the company until his death in 1969.

Agustín Zamboni, Recoleta Cemetery

The largest electric company in town left a unique mark on Buenos Aires; they covered their substations with a bit of medieval Italy… large & small brick castles dot most neighborhoods, usually stuck in between houses or silently disintegrating while people walk by unaware they exist.

CIAE, Puerto Madero

CIAE, Usina de la Música, La Boca

Buenos Aires went electric in 1887 thanks to a German company (CATE), but their monopoly was broken by the CIAE in 1914. The Swiss-Italian joint venture had a concession until 1962, but a lot happened during that time. Other companies came & went, its contract was extended, & neither Perón nor Frondizi nationalized them, but Isabel started the process. Incorporated into SEGBA in 1978, the remaining CIAE structures were donated to the city government in 1987. The generator situated in Puerto Nuevo—the largest of them all—passed into private hands in 1992.

CIAE, Puerto Nuevo

For further information, read a 12-part series about the history of the CIAE on our sister site, Endless Mile.

Published in:Business


  1. Mike

    Robert, your knowledge of BA history and culture never ceases to amaze me. Fascinating stories, as always.

  2. Thanks, Mike. The CIAE buildings have been a long-time fascination… still hard for me to believe that a company would go to such an extent for decorative purposes/branding.

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