a bit of history

An introduction with a benevolent spirit.

The little history of canuts

The Lyon Factory

It is an old corporate type organization, born under the old regime, with its many regulations, the most important of which are those of 1554, 1667 (Colbert) and 1744, intended to normalize and guarantee the quality of silk tissues, but Also to preserve the hand-up of a wealthy urban bourgeoisie, on a population, whose revolts are feared. This factory, dispersed manufacture, has three elements.


The traders, or "merchant-fabricants" (between 400 and 1000 entrepreneurs) bring silk, have it prepared (milling, dyeing and hatching), as well as fabric drawings, which they will take care of eating. They do not "manufacture", they give this work in a way, according to a price that they determine alone most often. Most of the traders are installed at the foot of the Croix-Rousse hill.

Atelier or master-workers' leaders

About 8,000, including half at La Croix-Rousse, at the top of activity in the middle of the 19th century. Owners of the equipment and sometimes of the workshop, they work and make their family work, apprentices and companions, but depend on the “price” given by merchants, and the economic situation, variable in this area of ​​manufacturing products luxury.

The master weaver is more like a small boss than a worker. It is the master weaver who discusses the price like the manufacturers. When they agree, the manufacturer provides chain threads and weaving frames. When it comes to shaped tissues, it is also the manufacturer who provides the boxes.

Companions or workers

About 40,000, approximately, hired, often housed and fed by the workshop manager and also paid to the parts (about half of the "price"). They most often have very rough working and existence conditions.

Large revolts

The major canut revolts in the 19th century (1831,1834, 1848)

This Croix-Roussienne epic, in addition to making a lot of ink flow, has aroused bright debates as to the brand it has left on history. So we will only make a brief overview.

In debate

The role of Joseph-Marie Charles dit Jacquard, Lyon (1752-1834)

Fertile inventor, encouraged by Napoleon, by the city of Lyon, and decorated by Louis XVIII ... a benefactor of humanity for the relief brought to the task of the weavers and especially that of the children (his statue is very present on the Place de la Croix-Rousse).

However, there is no shortage of criticism. While yesterday was described for the expensive price of its mechanics and its immediate lack of efficiency, today the debate is about the name of this machine. We would like to do justice to the inventors that preceded it (Falcon, Dangon, Vaucanson and Camchon) or who have improved it (Breton). In any case, the character of Jacquard is a complex personality, which the specialist Jean Huchard has dissected in almost all his aspects in the various official municipal ballots of the city of Lyon.

Let yourself be told the history men and silk trades.

A reading of the official bulletins written by Jean Huchard.