the man who created the eponymous tripod company, passed away on 5 February at his home in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, aged 80. Originally a photojournalist in Italy, Manfrotto began by building lightweight but strong tripods for himself in the late 1960s, but there was soon demand from his newspaper colleagues and, in 1974, he established a small production facility in partnership with mechanical engineer Gilberto Battocchio. The company subsequently went from strength to strength, finally being sold to the British Vitec Group in 1989. Since then Manfrotto has acquired the French tripod company Gitzo in 1992, the American photo distributor Bogen in 1993, the Israeli camera bag maker Kata in 2005, and lighting accessory company Lastolite in 2011. Today Manfrotto products are sold in over 65 countries around the world. The company is still based in northern Italy where it has two manufacturing plants and currently employs 735 people.