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Le musée et la boutique sont ouverts tous les jours, sauf mardi, de 14h30 à 18h30. Visites guidées à 15h et 16h15.

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The brushes
The brushes
26.10.2011 - 16.04.2012
Musée de la Nacre et de la Tabletterie - Méru


Commissionership : Lionel Mignot
After the success of « J’écaille » and « Mémoires Nacrières », the mother of pearl museum puts at the place of honour a know-how from Picardy deriving from the Tablet-making: Brush-making.
This exhibition enhances this local, atypical and little-known heritage that made the region Picardy become a genuine nerve centre in the production and exportation of brushes. As a matter of fact, until the first world war the heart of l’Oise has beaten with the rhythm of the brushes manufactures.
“Brush-making: a tablet-making’s know-how to discover” invites the visitor to learn about a region and an occupation, to find out the techniques of production, the particular tools of the brush-makers, and collections of unique brushes in France…
More than 250 items in wood, bones, ivory or mother of pearl, as well as original machines are presented to the visitors’ sight.
This new exhibition underlines the necessity of the memory-work regarding activities and techniques from the past that are today an integral part of Picardy’s heritage and identity.
The objects shown come from a part of the collection belonging to the AMBO association (l’Association pour le Musée des Brosseries de l’Oise) and to the Mother of Pearl Museum.

The tour of the exhibition
The tour of the exhibition “Brush-making: a tablet-making’s know-how to discover” presents items of the mother of pearl museum but also a part of the AMBO (l’Association pour le Musée des Brosseries de l’Oise) association’s collection.
The exhibition is divided into two main themes corresponding to the two exhibition rooms: “brush-maker” an occupation, brush-makers and female brush-makers. Within these major topics, sub-themes exist:
FIRST ROOM : “brush-maker” an occupation
1. Five categories of brushes
Brush-making is divided in five categories, introduced from the beginning of the exhibition: household brushes, toiletry brushes, industrial brushes, fine brushes and paintbrushes.
2. The Oise Map and its brush factories in 1911
Thanks to this notice board, each visitor will be able to discover the significant weight of the brush-making industry at the beginning of the last century. We count at that time about more than 10 000 female and male brush-makers with three main centres in l’Oise (Beauvais, Tracy-Le-Mont and Bethisy-Saint-Pierre) but also a great number of small satellite villages involved in this industry.
Year 1911 marks the apogee of brush-making in l’Oise and in France.


3. Producing brushes
Behind this theme are hidden several explanation signs concerning the raw materials used in the brushes’ fabrication (animal silks, exotic woods, bones, synthetic materials etc) but also regarding the fabrication techniques (hand-held, semi-automatic, automatic). The brush-making know-how has evolved since its birth in the 19th century. In 1906, 20 minutes used to be needed to make a brush whereas the same object was produced in 3 seconds in the nineties. Similarly, while 20 different operations of a homemade fabrication were necessary, today we are able to fill more than 1000 brushes in one hour. An authentic assemblage workbench dating from 1900 will be presented in this first room with two other machines (a double-drill machine and a counter drill).
 SECOND ROOM : Male brush-makers and female brush-makers

1. The great plants and the employers
Though the combined stories of Charles Loonen and Alphonse Dupont, two major owners of brush-making factories in Tracy-Le-Mont and Beauvais, the visitor discovers the employers’ universe in the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century, but also the history of two mills that have left their mark on the region.
2. Occupations related to brush-making
Some jobs attached to brush-making have also appeared in the cardboard industry, or in the manufacturing of brush-making machines… This last occupation has been the speciality of the Watteeuw Family over three generations near the town of Beauvais.
3. Collections’ boxes and Photographs of the Factory Loonen in 1927
Over theses boxes will be presented 11 photographs’ frames dating from 1927. We notice on them the interior of the Loonen brush-factory’s workshops, located in Tracy-Le-Mont, and blue collars working.
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