|In 1976, Antoine Cassese invented the wedge that revolutionized framing techniques throughout the world.
Antoine Cassese, the French inventor of the now-famous Cassese underpinner, received PPFA's Award of Recognition in Dallas in July 1986. Charles Mathews, Southwest Regional Director and chairman of PPFA's Awards and Recognition Committee, presented the association's highest award to Cassese.
The award, an enlarged version of the pin (v-nail) used in the Cassese joiner, was made of metal with an inscribed brass plate thanking Cassese for his contribution and service to the picture framing industry.
Cassese be gan the long process of designing a machine to simplify the process of assembling frames after watching his brother put them together. He installed his first prototype in the early 1970s. After several years of back-breaking work to perfect the prototype, Cassese was ready in 1976 to begin manufacturing the automatic underpinner. After a successful introduction in Europe, the machine was brought to Great Britain by the Magnolia Group and to Japan by Letraset. It was at this time that Tom Juhl of Juhl Pacific first saw the machine. Juhl was impressed, and soon began negotiations to market it in the United States and Canada .
Demand exceeded supply, and a new manufacturing plant was built to increase production by 200 percent. Cassese continued to modify and extend the range of the underpinner, now offered in several models and distributed in more than 120 countries around the world. The PPFA presented its Award of Recognition to Antoine Cassese for his contribution to the framing industry. His invention of the automatic underpinner that now bears his name changed the way many of us make frames.