Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mossant Berets

Mossant’s Hat Industry was the most prestigious company in Bourg de Péage during most of the 20th century.
Founded in 1833 by Casimir Mossant, the company expanded thanks to the development of the railway which enabled supply and dispatch from and to distant places. In the 1880s, Casimir Mossant entrusted his company to his two sons, Charles and Casimir.
In 1908, when Charles Mossant died, Antoine Vallon, his son-in-law, took the company over with his two nephews, André and Henry Argod. In the 1920s, the Mossant Company reached its peak. The factory hired 1,200 workers and made up to 2,000 hats per day, half of which were sent to the USA.
In 1929, a fire destroyed part of the factory which was rebuilt with concrete in an Art Deco style. At the top of the turret, two bas-reliefs represented rabbits and beavers, the hairs of which were used as raw material for the manufacture of Mossant’s hats.
After 1929, the economic crisis affected exports and the company diversified by making felt bags and berets. 
The manufacture of hats gradually decreased. In the 1950s, the factory became a clothing industry. In 1985, the company was finally liquidated.
In 2008, the factory in Avenue du Général de Gaulle was turned into a shopping centre.

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