Noisiel: la Chocolaterie Menier: Seine-et-Marne

    Full details

    English titleNoisiel: The Menier chocolate factory
    Authors & editors

    Cartier, Claudine [Author]
    Jantzen, Hélène [Author]

    Publisher SPADEM
    Year of publication 1994

    French (main text)

    Medium Book

    People and communities > People, families & firms


    Scope & contentSummary Translation: This factory/ chocolate mill was built in 1825, for the production of chocolate, amongst other pharmaceutical products, and is now a listed building. It was the first mill of its kind in France. This book gives the history of the building and the founder, Jean-Antoine Brutus Menier. Discusses the many phases of the mill/ factory. Includes information on its machinery, usage of hydraulic energy and machinery. Jean-Antoine Brutus Menier was a French entrepreneur and founder of the Menier family of chocolatiers. Firstly, he established the Menier Hardware Company in Marais, a district of Paris. Despite not being a certified pharmacist he prepared and sold a variety of medicinal powders. This aspect grew considerably in popularity and in 1825 he began to expand his business, which led to acquiring a second production factory on the banks of the Marne River in Noisiel, then a small village on the outskirts of Paris. Chocolate was then used as a medicinal product and became one part of the overall business. However this side grew and led to the modernisation of the factory in 1830 and became the first factory in France to have a mechanised mass production facility for powdered chocolate. Following the development of solid chocolate, Menier introduced a block of chocolate wrapped in yellow paper. In 1842, following obtaining a diploma, he was awarded the Légion d’Honneur (legion of Honour) by the French government. Also gives information on the improvements made to the factory in this year, including the architects. Including a collaboration with Henri-Pierre François Antiq, a mechanic who worked with Menier for 25 years on various projects and installation of a series of impressive devices for grinding, mixing and drying. Includes information on other engineers such as Louis-Dominique Girard who developed and installed a double helix turbine system, during the period 1825-1853. Discusses key events such as Napoleon Bonaparte’s visit to one of the mill’s buildings, built by architect Bonneau, in 1851. Napoleon congratulated Menier on the ‘whole of his important house, and on the order which reigns there ‘, and on his ‘good and paternal administration.’ Upon Menier’s death in 1853, his son took over the factory. The factory stayed under the direct ownership of the family until the mid-20th century. Chocolate was the only product made at the Noisiel site from 1863. Gives information on the factory in the First World War and the subsequent difficulties in production. The 1920’s and 1930’s were also a difficult time for the mill with changes in administration and competition in London and New York. Also gives information on the decline of the factory during the Second World War, and its eventual decline from 1959, due to profit losses, development in technology elsewhere, redundancies, and failed mergers with other companies, including Nestle. A social-economic debate followed, resulting in the decision by Nestle to alter the buildings to set up headquarters at this site in Nosiel for a number of years. The Moulin Saulnier- gives information on the building constructed, in two phases, by Jules Saulnier. This was a major part of the mill/ factory. It was a unique construction, similar to a flour mill and used hydraulic motors. Includes plans of the building and its adaptations. Includes the symbolic meaning of various elements, such as its similarity to a cathedral, built during the third generation of Menier’s. Constructed in 1905 by Stephen Sauvestre, it was built in a classic design, with the intention of expanding on chocolate production by helping with the mixing of chocolate paste with sugar. It was re-developed and used until the closing of the factory. Includes information on a clock tower, and is likened to a cathedral. Includes information on each section of the buildings, including the ‘cooling building.’ Includes photographs and plans of new phases of the buildings, such as the Nouvelle Chocolaterie (the new chocolatier) - includes information on the architects, the ideas, and the designing processes themselves.

    Copies held

    Accession no. 22584

    • Shelf location: L200