Dumas Factory

Marcel Dumas

FROM 1926 TILL TODAY, Dumas Factory


Son of restaurant owner, Marcel Dumas was born in 1895 in Annonay. He knew the war in 1914. By crossing the enemy lines to fetch wine for the troops, he was twice taken prisoner, and escaped both times. For his services he obtained a military medal, and six citations in the “Croix de guerre”. Before 1926, he worked in several factories. It was normal, at that time, to change work regularly, but he was particularly badly thought of, because he is a union representative and a member to the Socialist Party.
He was also badly thought of by the workers because as union representative, he distributed wages and gave them directly to the women, so that the men do not squander them on drink.
From 1926 till 1936, he joined with Messrs Salabelle and Chabaud, to create the Salabelle and Cie company (Parchment factory), Aygas Street, in the district of Cance, in Annonay.
His wife, Marie-Louise Pasquion, gave birth  to his only child André, on November 25th, 1930. She died in 1939, and Marcel remarried in 1941, to Emilie Philippot.
On August 1st, 1936, Marcel Dumas joined with Mister Fauriat, who is a desk clerk of raw skins for the factory Escabas in Grenoble and Mister Octruc, living in Romans.
Mr Fauriat moved to Annonay and managed the accounts department. The new company, Ets Marcel Dumas and Company, installed in an old weaving mill situated in the heart of Annonay, at 2 La Combe du Prieuré Street, employed 18 persons and made parchment and box-calf.

In 1939, war broke out. The company owed its safety to the factory Provent of Lyon, which could no longer any manufacture, and which sent the raw skins to Marcel Dumas company, which worked them. As with many companies, this one did not reopen after the war.
In 1945, Mr Fauriat died suddenly. His wife left her employment and takes the job of her husband in the factory.
Orthopaedics, lampshades and music constituted at this time, the three main uses of parchment.
Always an active person, in spite of a disease of the hips which made him limp and suffer, Marcel Dumas became a local councillor of Annonay in 1949, and there stood at the cantonal elections under the label socialist Party, the SFIO. He also be president at the UMAC, Mutual Union of War Veterans, and received the “Légion d’Honneur”.

André DumasANDRE

After military service, André came in to support his father. In 1952, he built his house next to the business, in which is now situated the museum. Soccer player in the football club of Annonay, he liked partying. Player of saxophone, he taught music. In 1954, his father handed him the control of Ets Dumas. In 1955, he married to Yvonne Chabert, who gave him two children, Corinne in 1957, and Frédéric in 1963. Their grandfather died at the beginning of this year.

In 1959, Gabriel Chabert, the brother of Yvonne, came to work at Ets Dumas. The orthopaedics industry was in decline but André maintained the parchment activity in the lampshade and the drum skin business.

As his father, André spent a lot of time at work. In town, he always went shopping in his working clothes. People nicknamed him "DUMAS drum skin", because he was the only supplier of the Republican guard and exported musical parchment all over the world. But decline in demand obliged him to point the company in other direction.

In 1955, he imagined, created and developed a novelty, the tanning of skins on which the hair or the wool were preserved, giving birth to the skins for decoration… it was the big boom of the decoration!
The craze for this kind of product led first of all to copying by the competitors, then to manufacturing overseas.
During the decades which follow, as regards the skin for decoration, Ets Dumas moved imperceptibly from a role of manufacturer to one of importer while maintaining a manufacturing of parchment.
In 1987, André welcomed with pleasure his son Frédéric, who expressed the desire to work with him.

Frédéric DumasFREDERIC

Athletic, he plays football, tennis, running, ski, trekking, korfball and cycling.
After one year of University, he chose to follow the tracks of his father and obtained in Lyon a BTS (two years technical degrees) Leather in the ESCEPEA, before going, in 1987, into the company to support him at first. They will belong fifteen working years to two, to make it prosper. Hard-working and wishing to progress, he developed the branch of decoration of the company, having up to five employees. Frédéric is a father of two children, Lucile, born in 1991, and Victor born in 1995.

In 1996, when he succeeded to his father, the production of parchment and skins represented no more than 5 % of the activity of the society.
In France, parchment manufacturers can be counted on the fingers of hand, and they are no more numerous today.
To boost parchment, he is interested in all of the items which can be made with it. This research brings him to frequent numerous jobs and places, such as the Estienne school, the Boulle school, the medievalists circles, illuminators and calligraphers, scientists and historians of the CNRS (National Center for Scientific Research), the BNF (French National Library), conservators, restorers…

Lover of this material, he decides to boost the production of parchment, and to improve it for uses finer than the drum skin. In 2004, after a training with him, he buys the know-how and the clientele of a colleague of Levroux (36), Jean-Pierre Bavouzet, who retires. To date, the activity "parchment" of Ets Dumas does not stop growing and its outlets are largely diversified. These contacts enriched little by little the idea which forms in its brain, " to open the family factory to the public ", to promote parchment.

His ambition is to perpetuate the family-run company, to embellish the museum, and to organize training courses, seminars and conferences there … In 1999, Frédéric announces this idea to his father, but the latter will not see the final project. André dies on June 10th, 2008, a few days before the start of the construction site. Since 2007, Frédéric is helped by his wife and partner, Josiane Aubert, and the project, having being baptized Museum Center of Parchment and Leather, emerges little by little with the successive openings of its diverse activities from 2009 till 2011.

Since December, 2011, the Parchment Factory Dumas is registered on the inventory of rare art professions, and in December, 2013, it received the national label « Company of the Alive Heritage »