header 1930 EN

1930 - 1945

The most suitable tools


In the early thirties, the penetration of hand tools into the French market was confirmed. More than 500 items were available in the catalogue, where one could find the "Union", "Éclair" or "Champion" spanners, as well as the "Bulldog" spanner designed for cyclists.

Throughout France FACOM distributed open-end spanners, box spanners, ring spanners, the famous "Royal" and "Idéale" spanners, and pipe wrenches. This was the confirmation of FACOM's traditional vocation: to offer professionals of all trades the tools most suited to their work.

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There was the same concern for quality: in 1937, the first socket tools and the first chrome spanners made their appearance. A luxury at the time, since production until then had only been "burnished".

FACOM established its position in the high-end tool market without neglecting other niches. Thus, the company would try to diversify into the market for ... meat mincers for housewives!

FACOM scarcely experienced the great strikes that affected French industry at the time of the Popular Front in 1936. The quality of human relations within the company avoided crises and defused social conflicts. With the outbreak of World War II, despite the débâcle of 1940, FACOM managed to preserve its achievements and its industrial potential, not to mention its workers, most of whom were able to avoid Compulsory Work Service in the German factories.

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MAURICE SCHEID, YOUNG APPRENTICE IN THE THIRTIES

Maurice Scheid was thirteen when he started at FACOM's Gentilly forge, in the thirties.

"I was still just a rough apprentice, a little awkward, let's say. My mentor in the workshop saw fit to start me off by familiarising myself with fork-wrench spanners on an old old-fashioned that rustic old coal-fired forge was, kindled by the soakers and that I watered for the tempering!

Then I would make a hole at the bottom to put in the spanners. When these were bright red, the soaker would "prussiate" the points (it was steel only fit for shoeing donkeys), place it back in the fire and then throw it into a tank of water. My job was to remove the water with a bucket as it got warm and to replace it with cold water, as there was no flow or inlet hose.

Then we took out the pieces, rubbed them with a brush and then plunged them into oil. That was the end of the machining operations. The spanners were transported to the warehouse without being chrome- plated; that did not exist in those days. I remember that when the water wasn't cold enough, I earned a few kicks on the backside!

My wages? 0.50 francs per hour, or about 2 francs in today's money, and 9 and a half hours of continuous work. To make a comparison, a meal in a company canteen cost 3 francs, that is, 12 francs today".


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