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Mid-nineteenth century, the ocriery industry is at its peak: the production reaches 18,000 tons and is exported worldwide.
From 1875, the ore becomes more and more rare and more expensive. We must proceed to underground extraction by wells and galleries. Operating costs increase.
After 30 years of quasi-monopoly, the ocher of Burgundy strongly feels the competition of the ochres of Vaucluse, exploited open-air in the communes of Gargas, Gignac, Mormoiron, Roussillon, Rustrel, Saint-Pantaléon, Villars and Villes-sur- Auzon.
Several Puisaye operators, including Gustave Parquin and Georges Lechiche, have long been convinced of the need to merge the various companies into one because of competition from too many operators.
They achieve their ends by succeeding in convincing most of their colleagues in two stages: by forming May 1, 1892, the Comptoir des Ocres in Burgundy, then the Ocher Company of France.
Whereas in 1929 there were still some 18 companies, which employed nearly a thousand people and produced approx. 40,000 tons, again in 1931, the effects of the global economic and geopolitical crisis will have disastrous consequences for the ocher industry. Trade is weakened and there are mass closures of factories.
The Society of Ocres de France keeps its course somehow. It will file an application for cessation of business on 31 October 1973 with almost no production and an empty order book.
Beginning of 1974: new rebound, the Society of Ocres de France is saved in extremis by Gilbert Guigou.
This native of Apt has just retired, leaving his flourishing masonry business to his two sons Jean Paul and André.
Ocher speaks to him. He is a user in his craft masonry and especially he grew up with this industry well present in his city. Also, when he learns that this one, in bankruptcy, is to sell for a mouthful of bread, he does not hesitate a long time. The factory is in ruins, the machines unusable. Patiently and with his head full of projects, he will put production back on the road and find new opportunities in the ocher.
1985: Jean Paul and André separate from the masonry company to join their father. The ocurring adventure continues. Jean Paul takes charge of the administrative part while André is more oriented towards the technique. Nelly, André's wife, like many women artisans, puts his secretarial skills shorthand in the service of society. Between them, they find new contracts in the building industry. Society Strasservil, which is in the process of development, entrusts them with the manufacture of their whitewash and lime renders. Other companies known in the paint industry also use their services. Ocher de France and Lafarge plaster will even create a range of colored plaster.
|First range of coatings and whitewash in 1996|
1996, 1998 and 2014, the grandchildren Brice, Stéphanie and Pascal join the family business by choice and love of the trade.
They then have a common goal, value and boost their heritage as much as possible.
For years, the Society of Ocres de France has remained in the shadows, almost ashamed to have remained standing while so many others fell.
"We had a small office in the factory and we did not really sell to individuals, so we were not well known to the general public who thought we no longer existed or that our resellers we"
To overcome this, the family decided to open a store on the main avenue of the city; this "showcase" will finally bring the company to light.
Ten years later, it's a mission accomplished. But the logistics (storage capacity, communication problem between the sales team and the production) becomes too heavy. Also, Pascal, Brice and Stéphanie are planning the construction of buildings in the factory compound.
January 2015, the team of the Avenue Victor Hugo store joins the production team. This initiative will be well received by the customers who will find in the showroom a bigger choice of products and schedules better adapted to the craftsmen.
"Today, we are proud of what we represent: French know-how, passed down from generation to generation, a noble product, an ecological industry, an international curiosity, a huge desire to prosper our industrial heritage; to get rich but just so that our grandfather is proud of us and what we have accomplished is a real challenge and we will get there "
Under the watchful eye of the elders,
Nowadays, the company Ocres de France is the last autonomous company in France, which exploits and transforms the ocher sand in pure ocher.