Saint-Nicolas d’Aliermont, a domain of the Archbishops of Rouen, was a strong farming area. Alongside the farming there was a pre-industrial activity of tile and brick manufacture. Tinsmiths were recorded around 1550, followed by copper and brass founders and casters, and in the 18th century, by locksmiths, edge-tool makers, and boilermakers. The forests provided the necessary fuel - charcoal.
Charles-Antoine Croutte, the son of a Dieppe clockmaker living in Arques-la-Bataille, set up as clockmaker in the parish in 1725. There were eight clock-making workshops in around 1750, and twenty-seven on the eve of the French Revolution. On site, this clockmaker found a skilled workforce, real know-how, and tools easily convertible to the minute work of the clockmaker. Thus, from the 1850s, clock-making, an original and skilled profession, found a stable environment that was ideal for its rapid development.