Chapter: “Birolleau family”

Who were the people behind F.G.B.C.?

(F.G.B.C. produced “pierre La Lune”, “Special Stone only for Good Razors”, “New Master Stone”, …)


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Who were the people behind “F.G.B.C.”
“Birolleau family”

Chapter: “Birolleau family”

The following is gathered from different sources:

  1. Link; “Jean Yves THIRIET” (jytbou) Link
  2. Link; Les Familles de Vacqueville” Link
  3.” Link:
(just click on each name to open a direct link to the site)

°22/12/1831 – †24/09/1914, wholesale wine merchant,
parents: Jean-Baptiste BIROLLEAU & Jeanne Agathe MOUNIER,
married 17/3/1862 Marguerite PRUNEAUD (°1841 – †1873).

One of their children was:

°4/5/1863, Sainte-Feyre, 23193, FRANCE – †1938,
He lived in Bourg-du-Bost where he married
8/12/1894 Marie Louise THIRIET (°1869 – †1954);

They had 4 sons, born at Vacqueville, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Lorraine:

(°09/12/1895 – †?)

(°15/09/1897 – †?)

(°1899 – †1900)

(°16/12/1904 – †1986)


He was administrator and master of the quarries of Merviller-Vacqueville.
The sandstone quarry of Birolleau in Merviller (54) produced Baccarat crystal.
The employers’ house was situated in Vacqueville (château Biroleau)

 1896/ 24 January or November

The following is gathered from different sources:
  1. genetk.overblog.comLes tailleurs de pierre” Link,
    Published 16 March 2013 by “Jean-Yves THIRIET
    Merviller-village de Lorraine
    ” Link1Link2
  3. /Jean Yves THIRIET” (jytbou) Link

A documented offer of 40.000 “French frank” for the maintenance of roads tells us that

“A. Birolleau”, residing at Vacqueville, was exploiting sandstone quarries at muschelkack.

There are traces, after this date, leading to a factory/assembly of grinding stones
“GHELFI & BIROLLEAU” at “7, rue Charlot, Paris”

Information is also found about a pink stone of the Vosges:

Following note is a citation found on:
    Merviller-village de Lorraine
    ” Link1Link2
  2. genetk.overblog.comLes tailleurs de pierre” Link,
    Published 16 March 2013 by “Jean-Yves THIRIET”
“NOTA: J’ai été en relation avec un chercheur de “l’institut du globe de Strasbourg” qui m’a indiqué que la pierre rose des VOSGES c’est formé a l’époque désertique. C’est a dire ou la campagne lorraine ressemblait a l’actuel sahara, sable très fin qui sous l’influence de la chaleur et de l’oxyde de fer c’est solidifié pour former une pierre au grain très fin fournissant de remarquables meules à aiguiser les outillages expédiés par wagons dans la France entière”
“NOTE: I have been in contact with a researcher from the “l’institut du globe de Strasbourg” who told me that the pink stone of the Vosges was formed in the “desert period”. That is to say, the “Lorraine area” resembled the current sahara; very fine sand, which under the influence of heat and iron oxide was solidified to form a very fine grain stone providing remarkable grinding-, sharpening tools, which were shipped throughout France



An anonymous company was in charge of the quarries Merviller-Vacqueville

( Link , Annuaire-almanach du commerce, de l’industrie,
de la magistrature… Link)

“Meules en grès:”Société anonyme des carrieres de Merviller-Vacqueville”
Meules à aiguiser blanches et rouges de tous grains et de toutes dimensions.
Grès pour menuisiers. Barils pour corroyeurs. – Pierres à polir le marbre, etc., rue Ganneron, 6″
“Sandstone grinding wheels:
“Anonymous company of the quarries Merviller-Vacqueville”
Grindstones white and red all grains and sizes. – Stoneware for woodworkers.
Barrels for tanners. – Stone marble polishing, etc., Ganneron Street, 6″


1904/ 9 August:

Birolleau (Antonin) became Knighted

( Link , Journal officiel de la République française…1904/08/09)

“Birolleau (Antonin), industriel à Vacqueville (Meurthe-et-Moselle):
travaux de reboisement; 20 ans de pratique agricole”
“Birolleau (Antonin), industrialist at Vacqueville (Meurthe-et-Moselle):
reforestation; 20 years of agricultural practice”


1911/ 16 July:

( Link, Est républicain 16-07-11)

“INCENDIE. – Un incendie dont la cause est inconnue s’est déclaré vers une heure du matin, au hameau des Carrières, dans la fabrique de meules, appartenant à M. Antonin Birolleau. Le bâtiment, construit en planches, a été entièrement détruit, malgré les secours apportés par les pompiers de Vacqueville et Merviller.
Les pertes, évaluées à 13.500 Fr., sont couvertes par l’assurance.”
“FIRE. – A fire of unknown cause broke out around one o’clock in the neighbourhood of the quarries, in the factory of grinding stones, belonging to Mr. Antonin Birolleau. The building, built of planks, was completely destroyed, despite the aid given by firefighters of Vacqueville and Merviller. The losses, estimated at 13,500 F,
are covered by insurance. “


1912 – 1913

or earlier, as previous mentioned, we begin to see:

“F.Ghelfi & Cie”
“Maisons F.Ghelfi & Cie Birolleau réunies”
(or F.G.B.C.)

for example on post cards which says:

“Manufacture et Montage de Meules & Pierres a Aiguiser & a Polir”
“F. Ghelfi & Cie”
“Maisons F.Ghelfi & Cie Birolleau réunies”
“7, Rue Charlot, Paris”

First in Rue Charlot 7,
later also in Rue de Saintonge, 47, Paris (since 1922 or earlier).

The “maisons” or “houses / etablishments” of
“F.Ghelfi & cie” and “Birolleau” became united, this between 1908-1912,
since the previously mentioned court trial only speaks of
“F.Ghelfi & Cie”, without “Birolleau

1916/ 8 Mai
(private collection):

Around 1916 or earlier, the name changed:

“Maisons F.Ghelfi & Cie Birolleau réunies”
“Maisons Birolleau & F.Ghelfi & Cie réunies”!

“Manufacture & montage de meules & pierres a aiguiser et a polir”
“F.Ghelfi & Cie”
“Maisons Birolleau & F.Ghelfi & Cie réunies”
“7, Rue Charlot, Paris”

Usine à vapeur (steam plant): Merviller-Vacqueville

 Carrières en exploitation (quarries):

La Nouvelle, La Voûte, La Parisienne
(Gare Merviller – Vacqueville)

Neufmaisons, La Bouloye
(Gare Pexonne)

Bréménil- Bas, Bréménil-Haut, La Parisienne
(Gare Badonviller)

1916 F.Ghelfi

1922/ 21 April
(private collection):

Around this time, the firm had an extra building,
were they had their workshops, offices & stores,
located at “47, Rue de Saintonge”
(annexe, aside to “7, Rue Charlot”):

“Manufacture & montage de meules & pierres a aiguiser et a polir”
“F.Ghelfi & Cie”
“Maisons Birolleau & F.Ghelfi & Cie réunies”

Ateliers, bureaux & magasins
“47, Rue de Saintonge, Paris”
(Annexe “7, Rue Charlot”)

1922 F.Ghelfi

eventually controlled and owned the entire company.
Maybe these name changes are a sign that at a quite early stage Birolleau
became more and more important in the company. 

1923, 5 April

Birolleau acquired the rights of the company
“F. Ghelfi et Cie”, at “47, Saintonge (47, Rue de Saintonge), sold by “Demuth”

1923, Demuth Birolleau 47, Saintonge Droits Soc(...)Ghelfi et Cie, 47 ' Saintonge 1a
1923, Demuth Birolleau 47, Saintonge Droits Soc(...)Ghelfi et Cie, 47 ' Saintonge 1b

Birolleau now owns “F. Ghelfi & Co” at “47, Rue de Saintonge”

(In the article “Ghelfi family” we’ve seen that the company “F. Ghelfi et Cie”,
“7, Charlot” or its rights, was sold by “Widow Joseph Demuth” to
“Mr. Armand Demuth” on 1910/ 10 April. By this time the bureau/office already
was moved from “7, Charlot” to “47, Rue de Saintonge”)

In the course of the years there were more changes,
seen on different documents:

1924/ 23 October
(private collection):

“Birolleau & F.Ghelfi & Cie  réunies”
“F.Ghelfi & Cie” – “Anciens établissements”

1924:10:23 F. Ghelfi & Cie 1
1924:10:23 F. Ghelfi & Cie 1a

 The very explicit usage of the term “Anciens établissements” or
“ancient establishment” means that the formerly company,
consisting of 
the united companies
“F.Ghelfi et cie” and “Birolleau”
had ceased to exist.

 The signature of “Birolleau” on this paper of 1924,
possibly means he owned the establishment…

→ “A. Birolleau” = “Antonin Birolleau”

1924:10:23 F. Ghelfi & Cie 1b

1925/ 12 December
(private collection):

“F.Ghelfi & Cie & Birolleau réunies”
“F.Ghelfi & Cie” – “Anciens établissements”

1925 F.Ghelfi

The names changed back again with “F.Ghelfi & Cie” standing first.


It gets even more interesting, especially because in some directories of 1925, 1935 and 1938 only the name “Birolleau” is used, and not “F. Ghelfi & Cie“:


( LinkAnnuaire industriel. Répertoire général de la production française Link)


( LinkAnnuaire industriel. Répertoire général de la production française Link)


( LinkAnnuaire industriel. Répertoire général de la production française Link)


Birolleau sold sandstones, grinding- , sharpening stones,… at:

“47, Rue de Saintonge, Paris”

“Birolleau, 47, r. de Saintonge, Paris …”
“Usine à Merviller-Vacqueville”
“Meules et pierres à aiguiser et à polir…”

The fact that some directories of 1925 – 1938 only mention “Birolleau“,
and not “F.Ghelfi & Cie“, confirms that “Birolleau” was the owner

Ghelfi Valentin was noted in these directories, but like previous explained,
he separated himself from “F.Ghelfi & Cie

A bit confusingly, a directory of agricultural engineering, 1926, has
NO mentioning of “Birolleau“, but does have one of “Ghelfi & cie“!

‪(, “Le Génie rural”,Volumes 19-20, 1926, Link)

“Ghelfi & Cie” (Anc. Etabl.), 47. r. Saintonge, Paris

When noticing the usage of (Anc. Etabl.) or “Anciens établissements”, one can imagine
that this is in fact the company name, just as seen on the invoices of 1925
(with the “F.” missing though).

This could make sense, the other directories (1925-1938) can therefore
be interpreted as “Birolleau”, owner of “Birolleau, 47, r. de Saintonge”,
and also owner of
“(F.) Ghelfi & cie” (ancien établissements)

The solely mentioning of “Ghelfi et cie” is also seen
in a yearly universal directory of the car industry, 1928-1929;

“L’Annual”: annuaire universel de l’industrie automobile, 1928-1929, Link)

“GHELFI et cie”, meules en grès,
“7, rue Charlot. et 47, rue de Saintonge, Paris”
“Tél. Archives 15-41”

 1931/ 21 Mai
(private collection):

The next document again confirms Birolleau owned the firm:

“Anciens établissements”
“F.Ghelfi & Cie”
“Birolleau Fils, propriétaires”

1931 F.Ghelfi 1

“Birolleau FILS, propriétaireS” (sons, owners)
means that “Birolleau” owned the company.
Antonin BIROLLEAU wasn’t the owner anymore
(the father who died a few years later, 1938),

it were his sons who controlled the business;
that would be 
Maurice BIROLLEAU (see further) ,
and 1 or 2 of his brothers, being  Jules BIROLLEAU
since he died young, °1899 – †1900)

 A document of 1933 again refers to the ancient establishment,
by using old titles as:

“Birolleau & F.Ghelfi & Cie réunies”, “F.Ghelfi & cie”
“Anciens établissements F.Ghelfi & Cie”

It also explicitly shows: “Birolleau, propriétaires” (=owners)

As previously mentioned,the sons Birolleau were the ones in control

1933/ 30 October
(private collection):

“Manufacture & montage de meules & pierres a aiguiser et a polir”
“F.Ghelfi & Cie”
“Birolleau & F.Ghelfi & Cie réunies”
“Anciens établissements F.Ghelfi & Cie”
“Birolleau, propriétaires”

“Ateliers, bureaux & magasins: 47, Rue de Saintonge, Paris”
“(Annexe 7, Rue Charlot)

1933 F.Ghelfi

It is interesting to see that the name “F.Ghelfi & Cie” continued to exist,
even at the time that it is absolutely clear that 
Birolleau was the owner

1952/ 11Juin
(private collection):

Pierre “La Lune”

“Nouvelle Société des Anciens Etablissements”
(new society of ancient institutions)
“F.Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie”
“47, Rue de Saintonge, Paris”

“Meules et pierres à aiguiser et à polir”

“Usines & CARRIERES”:

La Nouvelle, La Voûte, La Parisienne
(Gare Merviller – Vacqueville)
Neufmaison, La Bouloye
(Gare Pexonne)
Bréménil- Bas, Bréménil-Haut, La Parisienne
(Gare Badonviller)

 “pierres à faulx naturelles façon Lombarde La Lune”
(Natural scythe stones “style Lombarde” La Lune)

1952 F.Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie

The correspondence was signed by “Maurice Birolleau” (°1904 – †1986).
“Birolleau” kept owning the business, the name “F.Ghelfi” stayed…


A document / advertisement of 1968 is showing the name “Birolleau”,
standing separately above the trademark:

1968 Schermafbeelding Birolleau

1985/ 12 Mai

 An envelope, stamped 1985/ 12 Mai shows that the name
keeps on standing aside to “Birolleau“:

“Nouvelle société des anciens établissements”
“F.Ghelfi, Birolleau & Cie”
“47, Rue de Saintonge – 75003 Paris”
“Meules et pierres à aiguiser et à polir”

Along with a nice phrase:

“les pierres X Y Z passent”
“les pierres “La Lune” repassent…”
“The stones X Y Z succeeds”
“The stones “La Lune” exceeds…”

Courtesy of Sebastian of ““:

1985 Envelop F.G.B.C. - Sebastian

1985 Envelop F.G.B.C. 2- Sebastian.png

Around 2007,..

  1. Link
  2. Link1Link2
  3. Link
  4. Link

By investigating these links we can see that: 

Nouvelle Société des Anciens Etablissements F. Ghelfi, Birolleau et Cie
Nouvelle Société des Anciens Etablissements F. Ghelfi, Birolleauet Cie” ,

 established on 1957/ 28 December, continued to exist as a “Société à responsabilité limitée”
(S.A.R.L. = Limited liability company), 
with headquarters address:

“5 rue de Douai, Paris”
(since 2007 or earlier)

 2011/ 23 July

Gachnochi Georges (°24/10/1940) was running the business

 Somewhere before 2007, the company changed their activities

It had become a wholesale business (trade from business to business)
of various industrial supplies and equipment

They supplied miscellaneous industrial equipment like: wholesale of aerodynamic devices such as fans, air conditioners, machinery and equipment for air conditioning; technical articles in rubber and plastic; other machinery and equipment used in industry; non-electrical equipment road signs; transport equipment other than motor vehicles, cycles and motorcycles; robots for assembly lines;…

2011/ 10 November

headquarters address moved to
156, rue de Tolbiac, 2nd floor right”

 2014/ 23 November

Gachnochi George became liquidator of the company,
he was appointed to wind up the affairs of the company…

 The last known establishment, known as
Nouvelle Société des Anciens Etablissements F. Ghelfi, Birolleau et Cie
closed on 22-11-2014… 

The presence of F.Ghelfi is not totally disappeared yet, as this boutique shows on:

“47, Rue de Saintonge, Paris”  


Isabel Marant


⇐ Previous chapter: “Ghelfi family”
⇒ Next chapter: “Demosthènes, Malaspinas”


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