Filature François Scheppers (Belgium)
When in 1842 François Scheppers left his trade house in Brussels to build a modern factory in Lot, a quaint village near the Belgian capital, it kick-started a migration wave, which led to a substantial growth of the little village. The hundreds of workers who had become unemployed when the construction of the Fort of Steendorp was completed now moved to Lot to work in Scheppers’ Société anonyme de Loth pour la Filature et la Fabricaton de Tissus de Laines Peignées. Scheppers built his textile factory right in the middle of the railway, the river Zenne and the canal Brussels-Charleroi. This prime location allowed him to make abundant use of the natural resources in the manufacturing process (e.g. the water from the river for textile cleaning) and also facilitated the transportation of the produced goods. In the following years, the factory blossomed and Scheppers was named a member of the prestigious Orde van Leopold I for the leading role that he played in the industrialization of the country. In its final years, the Société anonyme de Loth changed its name to Cartonnex. This new name unfortunately did not bring salvation. Cartonnex underwent the same fate that many Belgian textile factories succumbed to in this period; unable to compete with cheap foreign labour markets, the factory was forced to close its doors. Recently, large parts of the factory have been demolished while other parts are being reconverted.