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History

 

Native of the region of Chantilly and of Meaux, Robert Levy (1741-1813), porcelain manufacturer and rag dealer (fabrics manufacturer) lived in a castle in Gonesse, sold in 1899, and his wife, Berthe Minier was practising decoration on porcelain (enamel painting).

They had a son, Michel Levy (1789-1819) earthenware maker or porcelain manufacturer, husband of Victoire Ployard.

To help his wife, Robert Levy bought an existing workshop (around 1810), and then formulas for the production of enamel, and he launched a business of enamel workers on porcelain.

In 1820, he bought formulas from the Leblond family (1820) for the “white for dials".

Then, Michel’s son, Denis Levy (1813-1873) husband of Joséphine Victorine Lebrun (1803-1873) expanded this workshop which became an industry.

He bought formulas from Mr Dragos (in 1840), then from Léon Martin in the Quartier du Temple, as well as from an Alsatian and an Ukrainian.

Around 1840, he bought a land for the onion farming, because his aunt lived in the hamlet called « lin court », near the village called « Pintin ». They respectively became the Pré Saint Gervais (capital of the broken glass) and Pantin, path of the quarries of America.

 A house and the factory of the Pré were built, which finally after the second World War became the 24 rue d’Estiennes d’Orves, where he died.

Their daughter, Marie Victorine Ester Levy (1836-1901) married Louis Soyer (1833-1876) son of Stanislas, Charlemagne Soyer.

Louis Soyer, native from a farmers family near Meaux, had an “industrial” activity in the field of earthenware in the village of "La Vilette" (which became in the 19th arrondissement of Paris, the current rue de Flandres).

The business will become "Entreprise SOYER".

Their son Denis-Georges Soyer (1860-1935) husband of Berthe Cabourdin (1862-1957) will expand the business. In the museum in Anvers, we can still find a series of enamels like the one of Denis Soyer, which is still used as a reference for the diamond cutters.

 His son Louis –Edouard Soyer (1894-1940) husband of Marie Louise Bignier (1898-1965) will take over from him.

After a fire, he will rebuild in 1928 the factory of the Pré Saint Gervais in metal and bricks, whereas it was originally in wood.

The factory becomes "Etablissement SOYER"

 

                              

 

The factory manufactured its own crucibles which were originally open, closed if necessary and then in the end changed to closed crucibles.

 It had a pre-war coal fired oven, a pre-war fuel oil oven and a post-war one. To measure the temperature of the oven, they used seger cones.

The factory owned steam engines as a substitute of horses and the production was 120 kg per day in Louis Soyer’s time and 250 kg per day in Jacques Soyer’s time.

In 1900, there were 140 employees, workers started as young as 6 years old and the best ones learned how to work with a blowing iron.

The company was selling in the whole world and exported more than 80%.

The big specialty was the pastes (especially those offered by Bokassa to Mr Giscard d'Estaing). During the war, they had to use piles of pastes stored in the cellars of the factory. By remelting them, the precious part came off and the slags were recycled. During the war, the company exported in the whole world, but for a very limited production.

In the 19th century, the EMAUX SOYER, very close to their English competitor, considered becoming partners and shared specialties (in the 20th century, they will share Europe with their German competitor).

The factory also manufactured synthetic rubies, the last one of which weighed 284 kg and was sold in Kabul, cut in 2 for the transport because of pillagers.

The Fabergé eggs were decorated with combinations of SOYER enamels and precious stones. When created, the Legion of Honour was enamelled with a red from SOYER and real diamonds.

The first object (Soviet) sent on the moon included SOYER enamels.

During the second World War, the Emaux Soyer still received uranium for the yellow.

Louis-Edouard Soyer died in 1940, he was a captain of the French Army in New Zeland and his widow, with the help of his employees, took charge of the company until the middle of the 50s.

Their son, Jacques Soyer born in 1928 and husband of Chantal Leguil, trained to be a stained glass worker by the old workmen, took over and changed the name to "EMAUX SOYER".

In 1970, he will go into a joint venture with the company CERADEL owned by Paul Coiffe and will move, near Limoges, in Condat sur Vienne (87920) in the Moulin de Saint Paul and then will retire from the company.

3 years later, Jacques Soyer will try to relaunch a home-made production of enamel powder in Crouy sur Ourcq under the name of "Jacques Soyer Technique and Enamel" but an electric strike destroyed his first big crucible and ruined all his hopes and the hopes of his numerous customers.

Bernard CHARLES–LAVAUZELE, son-in-law of Paul COIFFE took over for 1 year , before selling to Mr Franck Dufour.

He will keep on manufacturing Opaque, Opal and Transparent enamels and will restore the name of EMAUX SOYER.

 

 Franck Dufour and Jacques Soyer