[FR] Lion et Laboulaye Freres; Biesta Laboulaye

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1. Overview

1830s? - fl. 1851 - ? Édouard René Lefebvre Laboulaye (1811-1883) and Charles Laboulaye.

The popular biography of Édouard Laboulaye in the Library of the World's Best Literature (1902; see below) says that Édouard Laboulaye "turned his mature [i.e., post-college] thoughts first to business, setting up a type foundry with his brother Charles, who presently became an eminent inventor."

However, the biographical sketch by Alkan (see below, as well) says "Les frères Laboulaye s'associèrent d'abord à une fonderie en caractères, à celle de M. Lion," and Alkan goes on to say that he has a specimen, dated 1838, from the "Fonderie Lion et Laboulaye Frères." The foundry of Lion dated to at least 1827.

So on present evidence it isn't yet clear to me whether the Laboulaye brothers first set up their own foundry and then merged with the earlier foundry of Lion or whether they established themselves in business initially by joining with Lion.

The firm of Lion et Laboulaye Frères ultimately became Biesta, Laboulaye et Cie. and as such ran the Fonderie Gènèrale. The Fonderie Gènèrale resulted from successive amalgamations of Molé le Jeune. [Ambrose] Fermin Didot (by purchase), Crosnier, and Éverat and under this name had been run by Fonderie de E. Tarbé.

The role of Biesta in the transition from the Fonderie de E. Tarbé (running the Fonderie Gènèrale) to Biesta, Laboulaye et Cie. (running the Fonderie Gènèrale) is not yet clear to me. However, the biography by Alkan says "M. Charles Laboulaye prit bientôt la direction de la grande FONDERIE DE CARACTÈRES FRANÇAIS ET ETRANGERS, l'ancieene maison Molé, puis Biesta, ..." (p. 9). This would seem to indicate that Biesta became associated with the Fonderie Gènèrale first, and later merged with Lion et Laboulaye Frères (by this time mostly Charles Laboulaye).

Èdouard Laboulaye went on to a notable career in literature (becoming famous for fairy tales) and law, and had an involvement with the US Civil War.

Updike, in Printing Types (vol. 2, p. 184) says of the Fonderie Générale that by the time of a specimen of 1843 it was "managed by Biesta, Laboulaye & Cie."

The Reports of the 1851 Great Exhibition say "France. - ... MM. Laboulaye and Co. (Successors to Didot) have shown great skill in their printing types. (p. 903, PDF 48). However, Updike (see above) indicates that it was the Fonderie Générale which purchased the materials of the Didot foundry from Ambroise Firmin Didot.

Reports of the Juries on the Subjects in the Thirty Classes into which the Exhibition [of the Works of Industry of All Nations, 1851] was Divided . Vol. III. London: Spicer Borthers, Wholesale Stationers; W. Clowes and Sons, Printers, 185 2. Digitized by Google Books from the copy presented to the Government of Bavaria, now in the Bavarian State Library. "Punch-cutting and Type-founding" and "Type-Founding in the United States" are pp. pp. 899-906 (PDF 44-51) Class XVII ("Report on Paper and Stationery, Printing and Bookbinding"), followed by "Stereotyping."

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Un Fondeur en Caracteres

Alkan, [Alphonse] l'Ainé. Un fondeur en caractères[:] membre de l'institut. (Paris: Bureau de La Typologie-Tucker, 1886.) This is a biographical sketch of Éduoard Laboulaye. It has been digitized by Google Books; the icon at left links to a local copy of this digitization.

Because images of 19th century pre-machine typefoundries are not all that common, here is the image from the title page of this work. The image below is a reduction in size to fit this page; click on it for a rendering of the image from the Google Books original at the full resolution of the Google Books scan as published.

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"Édouard René Lefebvre Laboulaye"

A brief biography of Édouard Laboulaye, concentrating on his achievements as a scholar and teller of fairy tales, appears in Volume 22 of the Library of the World's Best Literature (NY: J. A. Hill & Co., 1902) (p. 8747-8749, PDF 160-162). The icon at left links to an extract of the article on Laboulaye from the Google Books digitization. The portrait of Édouard Laboulaye used for the topic icon here is taken from that source.

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