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Culture, Group's Houses

Maison Charlois : 90 years promoting the value of oak

15 March 2018

Several historical sources confirm that Eugène Charlois (son, grandson, brother and nephew of stave splitters) began his wood-making business in Murlin in 1928.

Several historical sources confirm that Eugène Charlois (son, grandson, brother and nephew of stave splitters) began his wood-making business in Murlin in 1928. The choice to settle in this village is explained in particular by the fact that his wife, Marie Poncelet, with whom he married on July 10, 1926, grew up in Murlin.

Eugène Charlois, « wood merchant, in town », appears for the first time on the cadastral matrix (General Matrix of Direct Contributions) of Murlin ninety years ago. The profession of wood merchant consists in buying to forest owners and then in undertaking the way and the transport of the wood. At that time, stave split is more than ever a family affair since André Charlois, the son of his older brother Jean-Etienne, took over the stave factory of his father in Chaulgnes in 1927. While the cadastral matrix of Saint-Aubin-les-Forges specifiy that Eugènes’s first cousin, Louis Charlois, practiced the profession of « stave wood merchant » since 1936.

Murlin’s municipal archives keep documents relating to the loan issued by the Electricity Intercommuncal Association of La Charité-sur-Loire. On the subscription book’s counterfoil, it is stated that « Charlois, md de bois », domiciled in Murlin, subscribed on April 16, 1928 an obligation for the sum of 500 francs. In comparison, the daily wage of a Nivernais woodcutter is 1.50 francs at the beginning of the 20th century (forest populations in the Center of France, 1907) and the monthly wage of an industrial laborer in the province is 610 in 1930. These archives measure the importance of the electrification of Murlin municipality, synonymous with growth and economic development, for Eugène Charlois.

 The activity of Eugène Charlois is also referenced in the yearbook of La Nièvre since 1930 under the title « Bois (Md de). – M. Charlois ». 

Finally, the activity of stave split of Eugène Charlois’facilities is attested by the census of stave splitters established by the Administration of Water and Forests on October 18, 1939 (Departmental Archives of the Cher) in which the contractor is registered as a splitter by the 20th Military War Wood Center, Nièvre District.

Thus, for ninety years, Maison Charlois has been making oak wood in Murlin and excels today in the art of stave split thanks to a know-how passed from generation to generation but also through the development of machine tools specifically designed for this activity.

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