Know-how : from crafts to industry

The natural resources of the Vallée de l'Isle have been exploited from time immemorial: sand was processed in glassworks, clay in potteries and tile factories, iron ore and charcoal in forges, limestone in lime kilns, wood in cooperages, leather in the shoe industry, tallow in candle factories and wool in textile factories until the 1980s.

A rich valley
The Isle valley has many natural mineral, plant and animal resources which have been widely exploited since prehistoric times: sand, clay, stone, minerals, wood, animals and water. Initially located as close as possible to the deposits, the transformation activities of these raw materials multiplied until the 1950s: glass factories, pottery, production and transformation of iron, exploitation of limestone, exploitation of wood, transformation of leather, textile production, production of wax. 

The industrious Vallée de l'Isle
The transformation of these resources often began in the family setting, continued at the artisanal level and sometimes reached the proto-industrial scale in the 18th century. Some of these productions gave rise to factories in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This first industrialisation was established on the banks of large rivers to take advantage of the driving force generated by water to drive the machines and then produce electricity. 
In this rural and agricultural area, the phenomenon of pluriactivity was widespread among the population with many craftsmen-peasants, peasant workers or peasant merchants.
The proximity of sources of raw materials, good communication routes and a labour force that was still quite numerous made the wealth of this industrious valley of the Isle until the 1980s.
However, the oil crises and the rapprochement of the industry with the large consumer centres have taken the place of many traditional industries. [2010]

Illustrations :

-Photograph of the interior of the Gabillou textile factory around 1950. (©Musée André Voulgre)

-Illustration on craftsmanship, Photograph by the potter Jean Chevalier Lavaure in Faye à Beauronne circa 1930 (©Private collection M. J. Villesuzanne)

-Illustrations on family work with a photograph of a hemp spinner (©Musée André Voulgre).