In 1994, Mme Piger offered the laboratory of her grandfather, Albert Cerfon, to the Musée de l’agglomération d’Elbeuf. This remarkable collection, dating from around 1900, consists of almost 400 items.
The laboratory was originally that of a chemist (with ovens, flasks, retorts, etc.) before becoming that of a dyer. It also contains some apparatus that is more enigmatic for the layman, such as Liebig condensers, Berzelius lamps, and Régnault gasometers. Various materials were used in their manufacture such as glass, clay, copper, Bohemia crystal, Dresden china, and Bayeux porcelain.
Various permutations were possible: one piece of apparatus could be used for several procedures and be associated with others, depending on the experiments being conducted and procedures required: distillation, calcinations, etc.
This laboratory was not used in the workshops of a factory, but was primarily a research tool, used by Cerfon at home to find and test new dyes. Constant innovation was required to keep pace with the developments of the market and challenge the competition.
A rare example of a preserved dyer’s laboratory, this collection is testimony to the importance of the applied research required by the textile industry.