The decline and fall of the industrial production of stringed instruments in France –
the fourth and final chapter of our series
The factories in Mirecourt began to weaken during the Great Depression and were especially affected by the outbreak of the Second World War and Germany's invasion of France. In the post-war era they were no longer able to attain their former strength. J.T.L., Laberte Magnié and Couesnon all met an end at nearly the same time. The flagging demand during the hardships which afflicted mid-century Europe was not the only reason why these companies could not resume where they had left off. Instead, industrial instrument-making underwent massive and rapid progress in technical innovations, and the weakened giants of Mirecourt could not efficiently hold their own.
New centres of industry elsewhere in Europe and overseas became more and more important, and within an alarmingly short time, all three French companies discontinued production in the late 1960s. First Couesnon was forced to declare bankruptcy in May 1967, followed by J.T.L. closing its factories in 1968, and finally Laberte shut down after no successor could be found when Philippe Laberte died in 1969. Of the three, only the name J.T.L. was to survive the collapse of the industry, and it lives on as a brand name under the management of a company in Woodford Green, UK.
Mirecourt: the spacious home of French violin making
Jérôme Thibouville-Lamy - J.T.L.
Bazin: the great name of Mirecourt bow making
Morizot, père et frères: the short history of a great family of bow makers
Mirecourt's new masters: contemporary violin makers in Mirecourt