Made in France: A long history and current products

Made in France: A long history and current products

When you think made in France you perhaps first think of food, then of luxury, then maybe of industry. France has a long history of creation of wonderful products and inventions such as the chip in your credit card, the minitel, which preceeded the internet, watches and knives.

FUSAC has selected a few of our favorite historical products that are still made in France as well as some new concepts.  Cocorrico! as they say!

You probably never wondered what happens to all of the huge canvas posters used to present exhibitions when the exhibition is over. Or what happens to lifejackets from AirFrance flights at the end of their lives. Or how about the shirts worn for just one game by the PSG. Well Bilum, founded in 2005 by Hélène de La Moureyre, has teamed up with the museums, exhibition halls, AirFrance and the PSG and many others to create bags and pouches of all sorts from their « waste ». A made in France product from a made in France resource that was once garbage. The most recent creation, which is what caught our attention, is an ipad pouch made from the flags that once flew above the Grand Palais. The only unfortunate part of this wonderful idea is that the production is ephemeral and thus exclusive and hard to find. Only so many items can be made from each poster or flag and so they are sold exclusively in places from which the raw material came. And they sell out very quickly. Bilum has a boutique website, but no brick and mortar shop in Paris. Online right now you’ll find belts made from seat belts, pillows made from air bags, the flag pouches, shoulder bags from the Hokusai exhibition posters, and totes made from the draperies of the Hotel Prince de Galles !

The Roger Cyclist
In the 1930s Henri Roger, created his own foundry in Paris 11th. He specialzed in toys, figurines and miniatures molded in lead. Soon the company switched to an alloy called Zamac (95% zinc, plus aluminum, magnesium and copper) and plastic, then aluminum. The first cyclists were made in 1945-50 with a square base to be used as board game pieces. In the 1950s cycling was all the rage and the company expanded and developed several models and sizes of the hand painted miniatures. The company continued to expand and also created molded pieces for industry. But the Roger cyclist continues to please and up to 500,000 pieces are made per year in the 1960s. Quieter years came in the 70s and 80s and finally production was stopped. But in 1992 collectors requests were met and production began again. Today Henri Roger’s grandson Jean-Luc Roger is director of the company and continues to produce his grandfather’s famous cyclists using the molds from the past. They are still hand painted too. « Les cyclistes ne sont plus son cœur de métier mais restent son métier de cœur. » says Jean-Luc. A piece of authentic France. Available on the Roger site or at several shops in Paris – see addresses on the Roger site.

Deejo, personalized pocket knives.

Né de l’envie de Luc Foin et Stéphane Lebeau de (re)donner à chacun le plaisir de posséder un couteau au fond de la poche et d’en faire un compagnon utile du quotidien. Deejo est un couteau nomade issu d’un alliage unique : qualité et extrême légèreté. Une plume d’acier conçue pour trancher les mets les plus robustes, de la manière la plus délicate. Petit comme un stylo, Deejo est facile à porter, à utiliser et à adopter. Fabriqués avec le plus grand soin dans le souci du respect des hommes et de l’environnement, les produits sont réalisés dans des matériaux nobles et durables (bois, corne, aciers inoxydables performants) ou modernes (plastiques, résines et nylons résistants). Un soin particulier est apporté au processus de fabrication depuis la réalisation des premières esquisses jusqu’à la mise en production du produit fini. Les designers élaborent des produits nouveaux ou repensent des produits traditionnels en privilégiant leurs fonctionnalités (poids, encombrement, manipulation, confort, prise en main, …) et leur esthétique sans négliger ce qui reste essentiel à leurs yeux : le plaisir que chacun prend à les posséder et à les manipuler.

Sur, chaque utilisateur peut choisir : la taille de son couteau, la finition de son acier, la nature de son manche et enfin, personnalisation ultime : tatouer sa lame, comme on tatouerait son bras d’un symbole qui nous est cher. Deejo devient alors unique et encore plus personnel. Tatouer son couteau Deejo, c’est offrir à cet objet déjà très personnel, une autre dimension : son identité. Grâce à une technique de fine gravure de la lame, du manche ou des deux corps à la fois, le couteau peut aborder une iconographie typique du tatouage traditionnel : Latino, Sailor, Tribal, Géométrique…

In a similar vein of innovation and customization B.R.M CHRONOGRAPHES allows you to personalize your watch.

Founder Bernard Richards’ passion for precision engineering and sports led him to conceive unique, handcrafted, bespoke timepieces that clients can help design through the brand’s unique online watch configurator. Nine basic models lead to thousands of possible configurations for women and men and particularly golf and motor sport enthusiasts. Among the configurable elements are the: case, flange, crown, push-buttons, the crown protector, lugs, bridge, hands or dials, tachymeter, springs, watch strap, and buckle plus a broad palette of lacquer colors and materials. B.R.M Chronographes has been innovating since day one (in 2003) with the world’s lightest automatic chronograph, a timepiece with three hands mounted on shock absorbers, a fullfloating system watch made especially for golfing, an exceptional, extra-flat mechanical wristwatch and the first watch for multiple time zones. B.R.M delivers a superior luxury product Made in France (the Vexin) using notable materials, research and technology and the savoir-faire of French artisans. Prices start at 4000€.

Lip watches – un grand classic, still going strong
The Lip company dates from 1867 and is based in the watch making area of France around Besançon. They were the first to create a watch with a glowing face to allow reading the time in the dark. In fact the phosphorescent material was developed by Pierre et Marie Curie based on their discovery of radium in 1898. Under the direction of Fred Lipmann the Lip company becomes the largest watch maker in France in the 1950s. His biggest innovation was the creation of a distribution network and a guarantee that was valid in all of France. He was inspired after visiting the watchmakers and the Harley Davidson factories in the United States. Lip also created the first electric watch and the first watch submersible to 200 meters. Today Lip watches are still a respected, affordable and authentic French gift for men and women alike. Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle and Eric Taberly all wore Lip.

Read our other articles about Made in France.

5 juillet 2021 8 h 20 min

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