My last blog about “La Pastorine” left me with the dissatisfied feeling that I should give a little more information. Not having the time to hurry to Paris in a quest for “La Pastorine”, I resorted to the ancient technique of a combined keyword search on the web.
There is a lively trade of postcards on the web, and “La Pastorine” frequently appears. Many variants of Art Nouveau publicity postcards are on sale. Letterheads, and invoices also appear on eBay and on sites of private auctioneers. Background information is rare however.
One source of information shows the other side of the artistic and colourful medal. It is a “Pré-Inventaire des sites potentiellement pollués pour le Département de Seine Saint-Denis” (a pre inventory of possible polluted sites in the Seine-Saint-Denis department). “La Pastorine” is among the potential sources of pollution (the colour, and pigment industry of course, has always been one of the heavy polluters). In this inventory we can find a short historical note about the factory:
“1886 – Usine comprenant la fonte des résines par la chaux, la cuisson des huiles, l’application de ces produits à la fabrication d’un caoutchouc artificiel et de vernis. (…) M. Charnelet fonde “La Pastorine” fabricant de couleurs, peintures, vernis, siccatifs et mastics.” p. 58. (Note: Archives Départementales de Bobigny).
Well, there you have it. Founded by Mr. Charnelet in 1886 the factory produced and produces a wide range of paint, and paint related materials, including (in the early days) artificial rubber (perhaps a variant of Bakelite?)
Interesting fact is that at the moment of writing of the pré-inventaire (the eighties of the XXth C.) the factory produces a modern relative of “caoutchouc artificiel”, being “Plastolex” a substance suitable for the protection of precision, or laboratory tools against shock and corrosion.
The longer I look, the more postcards, letters, invoices and checks there seem to appear. This stuff is collectable!
EDIT: a link to the “atlas du patrimoine de la Seine-Saint-Denis”.