The adventure of the master blacksmiths of Périgord is a heroic page of geological and political history, explored in the reference study published by Delmas Editions: “Les anciennes forges de la Région du Périgord” by Émile PEYRONNET, former assessor at the Directorate of the Polytechnic Institute of the West – Higher Education Establishment attached to the Faculty of Sciences of Rennes.
THE ANCIENT FORGES OF THE PÉRIGORD REGION
The history of the ancient and captivating forge and foundry industry in Périgord, with its great activity spanning from the reign of Louis XIV to the second half of the 19th century, is generally little known. While some information could be found in archives and journals, a comprehensive study was lacking, one that, starting from the geological aspect of the region, would have revealed its evolution over the ages. Mr. Peyronnet filled this gap.
His work, “Les anciennes forges de la région du Périgord,” makes a significant contribution to the study of industrial archaeology in a vast region, including not only Périgord but also neighboring parts of Angoumois, Limousin, Quercy, Agenais, and Périgord.
The author gathers abundant industrial documentation and traces the history of the main families of master blacksmiths. With the passage of time, we pay tribute to these men, masters, and companions, who prospered through diligent work and achieved remarkable works with limited means. It is then the moving narrative of the disappearance of these master blacksmiths, pushed by Free Trade and technological progress.
Thus, this work holds a particular appeal for foundries, metallurgists, historians, economists, and, in general, for all those interested in the lessons of the past.
I cannot recommend enough the reading of this book, to which I wish all the success it deserves, and for which I am grateful to Mr. Peyronnet, who has been collaborating for many years with our professional organization of French Foundry.
Preface of the study titled: “Les anciennes forges de la Région du Périgord”
by MAURICE OLIVIER, General President of Founders of France.
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Royal Cast Iron Fireplace Plate – 17th Century – Périgord – [ME113]
In the 17th century, the forges of the Southwest significantly contributed to the armament of the Royal Navy, launching heavy artillery destined for the flourishing arsenal of Rochefort on the famous cannon route, created for this purpose in Dordogne. Far from these ambitions of military hegemony, it should be known that these same forges of Limousin, Angoumois, Quercy, and Périgord concurrently carried out more peaceful missions. It was during this same period that beautiful cast iron fireplace plates were produced, displaying a range of sizes and abundant motifs. They were, and not without merit, dedicated to the well-being of humans, optimizing the warmth radiating onto bodies nestled by the fireside. The one presented here dates back to 1644, proudly displaying it at the center of its traditional royal coat of arms, namely a crown surrounded by fleur-de-lis. More subtly, one will note the presence of pine cones, symbolizing longevity in Christian symbolism, as the fir tree remains green throughout its life.
Height: 126 cm, Width: 81 cm, Thickness: 3 cm