Sabiem, shorts for Società Anonimo Bolognese Industrie Elettromeccaniche was a major elevator manufacturer that was based in Bologna, Italy and existed from the early 1920s until the mid 1980s. The company was based in Bologna, in the same area of Borgo Panigale where the factory of motorcycle manufacturer Ducati is located.


The history of Sabiem can be traced back to November 1918 when the company was established as Officine Elettromeccaniche Bolognesi (OEB), a company specialized in mechanical and manufacturing equipment. In 1921, the company changed name to Società Anonimo Bolognese Industrie Elettromeccaniche (SABIEM) but it did not began manufacturing elevators until 1929. During that time, Sabiem made 23 different types of machines for various applications like pasta-making machines, cigarette packaging machines, servomotors and more. In 1929, Sabiem started focusing on making elevators and moved to its new factory in Vira Emilia, in the district of Santa Viola. They made agreements with several major elevator manufacturers such as Otis, Westinghouse, Stigler, and Siemens. This resulted the company becoming a major elevator manufacturer in Italy. In the 1930s, Sabiem opened branches in several South American countries.

After World War II, the company continued making elevators with innovative technologies and partnerships to grew itself as a major elevator manufacturer for foreign markets. They expanded their businesses by opening branches in Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa and also Hong Kong, where it was a popular market in the Far East.

The company remained independent until 1985 when Kone acquired it as a mean of entering the Italian elevator market.

Overseas distributors

Sabiem exported their elevators to various countries through branches and also agents/third-party distributors. They were distributed in Mexico, Venezuela (where it was an important market), Cuba, South Africa, Israel, Lebanon, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and even Taiwan.

In Hong Kong, Sabiem elevators first entered the region in 1959 through a local sole agent called Gilman & Co. Ltd.. In 1973, the role was succeeded by Shan On Engineering Co. Ltd. until around 1980s. After Kone bought Sabiem, Shan On installed Kone elevators for public housing estates under Sabiem's name and Kone had a stakeholder of this company. Until 2017, Shan On Engineering continued to maintain and modernize some of the existing Sabiem elevators throughout Hong Kong, and on December 8, 2017 the company was taken over by and becomes a fully subsidiary of Kone Hong Kong[1]. Sabiem elevators in Hong Kong (where it was a popular market for Sabiem in the Far East) were widely used old private apartment and commercial buildings built in the 1960s-1970s, where some of the original ones can still be seen today. They were also installed in some public housing blocks built from the 1970s to early 1980s.

Sabiem elevators were introduced to Malaysia and Singapore in 1960[2]. They were distributed by Paterson, Simons & Co. Ltd., who also supplied Marryat & Scott elevators in the region. Sabiem elevators in Singapore were also supplied by Haven Automation, which was acquired by Kone in the mid 1980s[3].

In South Korea, Sabiem elevators were distributed and installed by Neungsoo Commercial Co.[4]

Below here is a list of some notable past overseas distributors who installed Sabiem elevators:

Company name Country(s) Remarks
Gillman & Co. Ltd. British Hong Kong 1959[5]-1973
Haven Automation Singapore 19??-1980s
Herouth Israel
Marryat & Scott Ltd. (?) United Kingdom
Neungsoo Commercial Co.[4] South Korea 1960s
Paterson Simons & Co., Ltd. Singapore
PS&C was also a distributor of Marryat & Scott elevators in both countries.
Ramos & Ramos Lda. Portugal Based in Funchal, Madeira.
This company was also a distributor of Marryat & Scott elevators.
Shan On Engineering Co. Ltd. British Hong Kong 1973[5]-7 December, 2017
Acquired by Kone Hong Kong[1]
The Thai British Trading Co. Ltd. Thailand
PT. Wira Mustika Indah Indonesia Serves Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya and Medan.

Elevator fixtures

Main article: Sabiem Elevator Fixtures Guide

Notable Sabiem elevator installations

Main article: List of notable Sabiem elevator installations


  • Most Sabiem elevators installed in the 1950s-1970s had their interior cab and doors made of extruded anodised anti-corodal aluminium. Some other elevators (especially later models in the 1970s), however, were finished with painted steels or wood-based surfaces. Sabiem stopped using aluminium materials for their elevator interior in the early 1980s.
  • Orona, a Spanish elevator manufacturer, started making elevators in the 1960s under license from Sabiem[6]. The elevators had design and fixtures from Sabiem and were branded as "Orona Sabiem"[7]. This lasted until 1975 when the license expired, and Orona started manufacturing elevators under their own name.
  • Sabiem also produced dumbwaiters[8]. It also claimed to make escalators, which were either made under partnership with German-based Eggers-Kehrhahn or Eggers-Kehrhahn products sold by Sabiem.



Hong Kong

Gillman & Co. Ltd.
Shan On Engineering Co. Ltd.

Other countries



Notes and references

External links

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