42 LOIRE. ST. ETIENNE. Action de F1500. black. No 43. Folds. A hugely interesting share, in many ways reflecting the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in France. The story starts in August 1814, when Louis Georges Gabriel de Gallois, chief mining engineer of the French state became interested in the rich iron-ore deposits of St. Etienne. The richness was much higher than those of other deposits, reaching levels of 33%-40% ore. In order to exploit this rich deposit, he established the "Compagnie des Mines de Fer de Saint-Etienne" in 1818, together with a group of notables from St. Etienne. The capital amounted to 1,500,000 francs, divided in 1000 franc shares. The first managing director was de Gallois himself. Following the Royal decree of 22 November 1820, the company received a concession forall iron mines in the region, as well as the right to build 5 furnaces, of which the first one was completed in 1822. De Gallois had prepared himself well by undertaking in 1818 a study travel of 18 months in Great Britain examining the impact of the Industrial Revolution there. When he returned from his study, the results were published in the "Mémoire au Conseil Général de Mines et à l'Académie des Sciences". They formed the key source of inspiration for the modernization of the French mining industry. Furthermore, he convinced his former colleague and mining engineer Beaunier to build a railway connecting our company in Saint-Etienne and Andrézieux, on the Loire. This 20 km track opened in 1827 and was the first railroad in France (the second one would be opened 5 years later and connect Saint-Etienne to Lyon). The combination of this metallurgical company and the first French railroad made Saint-Etienne the industrial center of France, very much like Manchester in England. Yet, the factory lacked skilled labour and although de Gallois was an excellent engineer, he was no good as a manager. In 1823, the production only reached 121.921 kilos of iron ore, whereas the lease agreement for the steam machines required a yearly output of 1.500.000 kilos. In 1823 de Gallois resigned; he was succeeded by M.Delevacque and remained only consultant engineer until his death a few years later. In April 1826, as the company was out of money, capital was increased again with 500 new shares of 1500 francs each, but only 326 shares were subscribed. However, the company's financial condition further deteriorated as the fresh capital was used up immediately, and the company debt amounted to 768,000 francs. The third managing director M. Thibaud succeeded in putting the company in order, and, thanks to some savings, the company produced ore at a profit. However, it was too late: the company had consumed 2 million francs of capital and the furnaces were already extinguished in 1830. The steam machine was taken over by Monsieur Jovin, entrepreneur of the "Manufacture d'armes de Sainte-Etienne" and the furnaces by "Fonderies et forges Louis Frèrejean", established in 1821. In 1839 its name changed into "Compagnie des Fonderies et Forges de la Loire et de l'Ardèche" and after a merger with Société de Berges in 1859 it became the "Compagnie des Fonderies et Forges de Terrenoire, La Voulte et Bessèges". The certificate dates from the time that Delavecque was managing director as he hand-signed the share. Moreover, it is issued to the famous company founder, Louis de Gallois. It has a very attractive and detailed litho vignette, showing the great mill, with the smoking chimneys of the blast-furnaces, hoists for feeding the furnaces, coal-mines and trucks for delivering the essentials, workers carrying out maintenance. Its historic significance makes this share a true top item. Only one other piece known, auctioned by us in 2009.
Themes: METAL & ENGINEERING, MINES(no coal, gold), RAILROADS
Date: 1 July 1826
Startprice: € 3000