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The History Of La Verrerie Ouvriere d’Albi

Little has been written about La Verrerie Ouvriere d’Alb (VOA). Although this company was a late starter in the manufacturing of glass insulators, they did begin producing CD640’s and CD642’s in 1917.

The history of the company began in 1752 in the town of Carmaux, 15 kilometers north of Albi. In the beginning, the company operated under several different names before it became La Verrerie d’Albi. The Solage family in Carmaux owned coal mines, an iron mill, and a glass factory. In 1754, the Verrerie Royale de Carmaux was founded by Chevalier de Solage. Between 1758 and 1849, the Verrerie produced wine and champagne bottles. In 1856, the Solages rented the bottle company to a bottle merchant from Toulouse, Monsieur Fernand Rességuier. In 1862, Monsieur Rességuier bought Verrerie Royale de Carmaux from the Solages and renamed it Verrerie Sainte Clothilde.

In 1864, the arrival of the railroad brought industrialization to Carmaux. The lines connected Carmaux to Albi and Toulouse.

The early years of Verrerie Sainte Clothilde were not without strife. The workers were nomads moving from factory to factory, area to area. There were many strikes both in the mines and the glassworks. One strike in 1895 lasted for many months and the Mayor of Carmaux, Jean Jaures, tried to reach a compromise but failed. An idea was born to form a glassworks that belonged to both the workers and the unions. Subscriptions (donations) were taken up throughout France to find enough capital to build a new verrerie.

The land was bought on Avenue Dembourg in Albi through a donation of 100,000 gold francs from Madame Dembourg. Jean Jaures, the mayor of Carmaux, lead the building of the glassworks. In January 1896, a band of men with picks and shovels started work on the new site, and through many obstacles and with a lot of hard work, the first furnace was lit on December 3rd, 1896. The workers glasswork: La Verrerie Ouvriere d’Albi was born.

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