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The Schneider family

Eugene Schneider.jpg




In 1836, the Creusot forge, then bankrupt, was bought by Adolphe and Eugène Schneider, two young businessmen from a Lorraine family. The emerging railway offers the metallurgy sector certain growth potential. Thanks to their relationships and their business acumen, the Schneider brothers will be able to provide the impetus to get their factories off the ground. Four generations of forge masters followed one another until 1960.

When Adolphe died in an accident in 1845, Eugène took over the reins of the company alone.

To his success in business, he added a political career at the local and national level, successively becoming general councilor, deputy, minister then president of the Legislative Body. He was succeeded in 1875 by his son, Henri, followed by his grandson, Eugène II, in 1898 and his great-grandson, Charles, in 1942.

While following technical innovations and diversifying production (steel, weapons, then electricity and civil nuclear power), each generation contributes to the expansion of the factories, but also of the city. As was customary at the time, the Schneiders ensured that they implemented a paternalistic policy, building housing, schools and hospitals. They shape the city and at the same time govern its economic and social life. The development of the factories ensured the reputation of Le Creusot in France and abroad: visits from customers and heads of state followed one another.

Even today, Le Creusot retains strong memories of the visit of the Schneider family. Scattered throughout the city, statues immortalize each of the forge masters, while streets or workers' towns bear the name of the children of the family who tragically disappeared, like Boulevard Henri-Paul Schneider and the Jean and Françoise Schneider city.

Walking through the streets of Le Creusot is like immersing yourself in this entire industrial epic. To get to know the family of ironmasters and understand the development of the city, a visit to the Château de la Verrerie, their former residence, is essential.


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