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Americanisation in 20th Century Europe: business, culture, politics. Volume 2

 | 
Nick Tiratsoo
, 
Mathias Kipping

The limited Americanisation of the French woollen industry, 1945-1975

Jean-Claude Daumas

Résumé

Les travaux récents qui étudient les missions françaises de productivité d’aprèsguerre ont mis en lumière des différences majeures selon les secteurs concernant la nature et l’échelle des procédés américains. Il semble que chaque secteur industriel ait retenu ce qu’il voulait du «°modèle américain°» en fonction de ses structures, son héritage et ses besoins spécifiques. Il en résulte que l’impact des méthodes américaines de production et de management sur l’industrie française varie largement pendant la campagne de modernisation de l’après-guerre.

Texte intégral

  • 1 I am deeply indebted to Isabelle Lescent-Giles who translated this article so skilfully.
  • 2 J-P. Daviet, “The productivity missions and their influence on the modernisation of the French woo (...)
  • 3 For the ‘productivity missions’ in a wider context, and debate about their impact, see Ibid.

1Up to now, historians have assumed that the modernisation process in the woollen industry started with the 1951 US productivity mission.1 Such an interpretation is based on the analysis of the report drawn up by the productivity task force on its return.2 This chapter suggests that, although industrialists preached modernisation in public, change on the shopfloor was limited. This conclusion is based on an analysis of the wider context of the post-war woollen industry, with its growing awareness of the sectors’ inadequacies, and on a study of the industry’s practices. We will therefore start by an overview of the woollen industrialists’ thinking during the post-war era, before moving on to a case study of Blin et Blin, an emblematic family-run woollen firm based in Elbeuf (Normandy), with a particular focus on marketing and management practices.3

debates in the french woollen industry from 1945 to 1953: an exercise in self criticism

  • 4 79 J 1681cc 833, Archives Départementales du Nord (Lille).

2At the end of the Second World War, the French woollen industry became acutely aware of a growing technological backwardness dating back to the 1930s and embarked upon an exercise in self-criticism, analysing its weaknesses and listing potential remedies. At a conference entitled ‘How will current trends affect the position of the Roubaix-Tourcoing textile district’, held in May 1945, Ernest Wattel, a member of the Centre des Jeunes Patrons (the Young Employers’ Association), drew a very bleak picture of the Roubaix district, then France’s leading centre for woollens.4 He thought that its major weakness was the “multiplicity of autonomous, fiercely independent and competing small firms with insufficient capacity and low productivity due to out of date production equipment”. Modernisation would fail unless concentration increased. At the same time, firms had to reduce costs through a comprehensive set of measures, including the creation of a centre for information and data gathering, research laboratories “turning textile studies into a science”, and common energy and water treatment installations. He also advocated joint purchasing of raw materials, energy and machinery and the standardisation of equipment and output, as long as it did not “jeopardise the variety and novelty which are the hallmark of our textile centre”. Finally, Wattel stressed that “a wind of social change blew across the country”, which would increase with economic recovery. Paternalism, he thought, was outdated as “workers aspired to security, dignity and affluence”.

  • 5 CCI, Monographie de l’industrie lainière, SA 63, Service des Archives Economiques et Financières ( (...)
  • 6 F 12 10426, Archives Nationales, Paris [hereafter AN],

3Wattel’s analysis was shared by many in the trade. In May 1945, a survey of the woollen industry published by the publicly funded Centre Interprofessionnel d’information confirmed the weight of family firms and the fragmentation of production. A majority of goods were made-to-order and most machinery was between 25 and 40 years old. The answer laid, it suggested, in product standardisation, scientific management of work and better accounting standards, including the introduction of standard methods of cost accounting.5 These views built upon the plan drawn during the war by the French Ministry for Industrial Production and the General Committee for Textile Organisation to improve the competitiveness of the French textile industry after the war. It called for new machinery, mergers, increased plant specialisation, and recommended introduction of double shift work and product standardisation.6

  • 7 P. Mioche, Le plan Monnet. Genèse et élaboration, 1941-1947, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 1 (...)
  • 8 Plan Monnet, Commission du textile, F 12/10434, AN.

4In 1946, the preparation of the Monnet plan gave a new impetus to the analysis of the woes of the woollen trade. But the textile commission lacked momentum as it refused to accept two key aspects of the overall plan.7 Consumption, it argued in its first report of October 1946, should not be sacrificed on the altar of post-war reconstruction. It also was against radical changes in equipment, preferring a gradual phasing in of any changes. The rest of the report simply re-stated the widely shared view that the problem lay in archaic machinery, low productivity insufficient concentration, deficiencies in the French machine tool industry, insufficient information sharing with distributors, depreciation rules unfavourable to long-term investment and lack of research to improve quality.8

  • 9 F 12/10435, AN.

5In its final report, published in 1948, the commission set the industry a double target: to switch from a logic of underproduction to a logic of strong competition, and develop export markets. In order to achieve this, companies were pressed to speed up the introduction of new equipment, with the caveat that foreign imports should be kept in check; and also urged to pursue rationalisation, product specialisation and standardisation, increased co-operation, and invest more in research.9

  • 10 A. Laloux,Industrie lainière française, Paris, IEP, 1948, p. 147-158.

6Building on these principles, the woollen sub-commission formulated a detailed strategy for the woollen industry. In order to increase production, companies had to introduce change both in machinery and output. They needed new, improved and standardised equipment. Automation had to be a priority, both in spinning, with the introduction of rings to replace the mules, and in weaving, with the adoption of automatic looms to replace the classic semi-automated ones. The second recommendation was to increase research into the quality, the strength and the treatment of woollens. Change in output had to be articulated around product and process change. Product standardisation was the key to reaching a mass market. It would enable firms to offer cheaper products without reducing quality, and would pave the way for plant specialisation and company concentration. At the same time, increasing output called for changes in work organisation. This meant reorganising the shopfloor, through the introduction of comprehensive planning Systems, the application of Bedaux methods, improved working environments in terms of lighting, air conditioning and safety, and better industrial relations. The report also argued that the only way to solve current labour shortages was through better training, in order to increase the productivity of the existing workforce.10

  • 11 CCL, “Schéma général des actions de productivité”, September 1953, F 12/10542, AN.

7All this suggests that the French woollen industry was perfectly aware of its weaknesses and knew some of the answers well before it sent its first task force to America. But the American trip brought new worries and led the profession to readjust its strategy to take the ‘American mode]’ into account. How did the French productivity mission perceive this ‘American model’? During their seven-week stay in September and October 1951, the French productivity mission for woollens visited ten wool manufacturers and the major textile machinery producers in the North East. Its findings were summarised in two publications: Productivité. Rapport provisoire de la Mission de productivité de l’industrie lainière in 1952, and Industrie lainière et productivité in 1953. The Comity Central de la Laine (CCL) (National Woollen Commission) campaigned to give these findings a wide audience. Nine ‘productivity days’ were organised in the major woollen centres. It also set up a productivity committee in December 1952, which two months later proposed six priorities: first, to gather and circulate existing research on productivity; second, to define a common language for the productivity debate; third, to gather data on productivity in the French woollen industry; fourth, to commission in depth studies of about 25-30 firms to work out realistic targets; fifth, to run pilot schemes in a handful of firms chosen as ‘productivity laboratories’; and, finally, to gain the cooperation of the workers’ unions for these schemes.11

  • 12 CCL, “Compte-rendu de la journée d’études du 28 mai 1952”, F12/10542, AN.

8CCL leaders were perfectly aware of the difficulties involved in transferring American methods. They identified four main obstacles: the lower quality of the raw materials used in France, the limitations of a smaller home market, the huge cost of the necessary investment in machinery and a work ethic based on differentiation and craftsmanship rather than standardisation and mass production.12

9It is fair to say that the members of the productivity mission did not discover new machinery. In their eyes, American superiority came from the following factors: high concentration, full integration of all stages of production from raw material to finished product in the same hands, better equipment and a more rational organisation of plants, including the mechanisation of handling, better production flows, standardised machinery and multiple quality checks. But this in itself was not sufficient to explain the US lead. The single most important factor, the task force reported, lay in “the human factor”. This included the quality of the workforce, the organisation of work and the social environment. The American workforce was more carefully selected, had better training and was more homogeneous. It was capable both of team spirit and individual initiatives. Younger and better trained, the foremen had broader responsibilities than their French counterparts, who had risen through the ranks. Whilst Taylorism was rare in the French woollen industry, the whole American work organisation was based upon it. Engineers in central departments worked out shopfloor organisation and production processes, giving a lot of attention to production times and movements. As a result, tasks were better defined. Other factors proved favourable to productivity growth, in particular a more collegial management, organised along functional lines, better industrial relations, collective bargaining, arbitration Systems to solve internal disputes, enhanced safety policy on the shopfloor, regular provision of information to employees, and clearly defined career paths for internal promotion, worked out by efficient personnel departments.

  • 13 Ibid.
  • 14 CCL, Journée d’études de Paris le 28 mai 1952 and “Programme en matière de productivité”, 1 Septem (...)

10This analysis led the CCL to work out a “productivity strategy” with nine recommendations: investment in new machinery; reorganisation of work to make individual tasks easier; stricter quality Controls on raw materials; creation of departments of engineering processes; establishment of industry wide standards; recruitment of engineers trained in work organisation; more training and incentives for the workforce; increased powers for the foreman; and better relations with the unions.13 However, the report fell short of detailed recommendations as to how best to achieve this transfer of American methods to the French context. Little thought was given to some obvious obstacles in particular lower average earnings, a tradition of conflict in industrial relations, and a management culture steeped in autocracy and unused to working along functional lines. Another serious shortcoming of the report was its lack of interest in mass consumption. Leaders of the woollen trade chose to focus almost entirely on technical issues and to ignore markets issues. Whilst the CCL was aware that introducing American methods in the French woollen trade would not be easy in view of the deep differences between the countries’ markets, they chose to concentrate on issues of market size and distribution problems rather than focus on the strategy and tools needed to develop mass consumption of their goods.14

a modernisation that fell short of its target

11In his study of the woollen trade’s productivity missions, Jean-Pierre Daviet claimed that “looking back, practically all progress made within the last thirty years of affluence was set out in its report”. This view needs to be qualified: first, the CCL programme was not fully implemented; second, many measures were reinterpreted in the face of French industrial culture and failed to make an impact on productivity'; and finally, some of these changes had little to do with ‘Americanisation’. The American model lost its appeal for most French manufacturers as early as the 1950s. It is time to re evaluate the impact of Americanisation on structures, machinery and industrial relations.

  • 15 M. Battiau, Les industries textiles de la région Nord-Pas-de-Calais: Etude d’une concentration géo (...)
  • 16 P. Bairati, Sul filo di lana. Cinque generazioni di imprenditori: i Marzotto, Bologne, Il Mulino, (...)

12In the 30 years that followed the war, overall concentration increased, but mainly through mergers at the top. For while the number of medium-sized and large firms declined between 1954 and 1973, the percentage of small companies increased.15 There were significant differences, however, according to types and production stages: in 1969, the share of output of the top ten spinners was 56 per cent in worsted, but only 33 per cent in woollens. The top ten weavers controlled 40 per cent of output. In terms of numbers employed, concentration increased in carding and the spinning of worsted yarns, but decreased in the spinning of woollen yarns and in weaving. And, throughout the 1960s, vertical integration declined in woollens, where carding, spinning and weaving had long been associated within firms. Still, the key phenomenon was the creation of industrial groups: in 1970, France boasted the first European woollen company, La Lainière de Roubaix, an industrial group with 15,800 employees and Consolidated sales of F565 million. Three medium-sized groups, Tiberghien, Weil and Roudière, also ranked amongst the European top 25. These groups, though, were no more than a juxtaposition of smallish family firms, linked by strong financial solidarities and a common group strategy, but with little plant integration. Overall, this was not quite was the trade and the authorities had anticipated. Rationalisation owned more to changes in levels of activity than to strict modernisation. Plant and financial concentration only increased in worsted, where output grew by 83.2 per cent between 1953 and 1973 and the switch to Chemical fibres called for massive investment. But in woollens, where production dropped by 27 per cent, and in weaving, where output grew by just 9 per cent under the combined attacks of hosiery and Italian imports, large units disappeared, leading to an increase in the weight of small and medium-sized companies. Worse, the vertical integration of production and distribution advocated by the CCL and Planning Office made no progress in spite of being recognised as the main factor behind the Italians’ success.16 French woollen companies continued to sell through large Parisian merchants and purchasing groups. This cut their margins and kept them out of touch with their customers.

  • 17 E. Schmill, Evolution des structures de l’industrie lainière française (1945-1960). Essai d’analys (...)
  • 18 CCL, Annuaire statistique 1953, 1954, and Industrie lainière française, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975.
  • 19 CCL, Annuaire statistique 1953,1954, and Industrie lainière française, 1973, 1975.
  • 20 Industrie lainière française, 1968, and Schmill 1964: 213.
  • 21 Schmill 1964: 77, and Industrie lainière française, 1975.

13Investment in plants increased by 117 per cent between 1956 and 197517, but the pace of automation varied widely between stages of production. Worsted accounted for 43 per cent of all investment, and by 1965, the last mules had given way to automatic rings. But in woollens, progress was less spectacular and mules still accounted for half of all machines in 1975. In weaving, automatic looms went from 15.6 per cent of machines in 1953 to 73.6 per cent in 1975, without completely eliminating old machinery. Unfortunately, an older type of automatic loom was preferred in 55 per cent of cases to the newest version of shuttle-less looms.18 The Roubaix-Tourcoing area, which specialised in worsted, was responsible for two-thirds of capital expenditure. Automation reduced staffing levels by 55 per cent between 1950 and 1974, with the workforce shrinking from 123,869 to 55,423.19 Expensive machinery was used more intensively, especially in worsted, where investment was highest, thanks to the spread of double and triple shifts. The proportion of the workforce working three shifts jumped from 22 per cent in 1954 to 76 per cent in 1972 in carding, from 8 per cent to 55 per cent in worsted spinning, from 5 per cent to 10 per cent in woollen spinning, and from 1 per cent to 22 per cent in weaving.20 At the same time, white collar staff (employees, technicians, supervisors and executives) rose from 10.9 per cent of the workforce in 1954 to 21.8 per cent in 1975.21 The result was an increase in labour productivity of 131.8 per cent between 1950 and 1974. But this must be put into context: the industry’s annual growth, at 4.2 per cent, was lower than the French industrial average of 5.4 per cent. And between 1960 and 1974, the rise in earnings outstripped the productivity increase (118.5 per cent against 35 per cent). In short, investment was not sufficient to revolutionise production processes.

  • 22 Compte rendu de la réunion du 16 septembre 1953, F 12/10542, AN.
  • 23 P. Belleville, Une nouvelle classe ouvrière, Paris, Julliard, 1962, p. 115-119.
  • 24 D. Lahalle, “Problèmes du syndicalisme ouvrier. Observations faites au cours d’une enquête sociolo (...)
  • 25 Ibid. : 157.
  • 26 Ibid. 156-157.
  • 27 Belleville 1962: 143-145.

14In America, the wool manufacturers realised the importance of involving workers and trade unions in the drive for productivity.22 Nevertheless, French employers chose a social policy called ‘paritarisme’ which was miles away from the American model. They tried to win support for their modernisation plans by institutionalising commissions on work issues (salaries, standards, safety and hygiene, and so on).23 First tried in Roubaix, this policy was extended in 1951, when the association of wool manufacturers signed a general agreement with the trades union on working practices in the trade. This included an article stating that the benefits of productivity rises should be shared between consumers, employees and the firms, and that the drive for productivity must not increase the workers’ load to such an extent as to damage their health. A second agreement signed in 1953 with all unions, save the communist CGT, confirmed this and established 50-50 commissions at national, regional and local level, where unions could voice their opinion of the sectors’ social and economic policy.24 In doing so, industrialists tried to give unions “an understanding of the industry’s problems without relinquishing any sovereignty or real control”. Many workers felt the unions had been duped and that “it was useless to discuss the employers’ policy as it would not stop them implementing their decisions anyway”.25 In their eyes, productivity increases had not led to significant pay rises, but only increased fatigue and the probability of redundancies.26 Workers’ disaffection became so strong that in 1962 the main Christian union, the CFTC, which had supported the initial move, denounced the 1953 agreement. From then on, negotiations were conducted under the government’s auspices.27 Efforts to build better industrial relations had failed because of their limited scope and their ambiguities.

  • 28 Rapport du comité sectoriel de l’industrie textile, Commissariat général au plan, 22 décembre 1969 (...)

15The limited modernisation achieved by the woollen trade led the Planning Office to issue a very critical report in 1969. Six issues remained unsolved. Concentration was insufficient and the leading firms were smaller than their foreign competitors. Overcapacity was endemic thanks to the survival of marginal players with equipment which had been paid for long ago. Plant modernisation lagged behind that of most industrialised nations. Levels of research and professional training remained inadequate. Only a handful of firms used modem management methods and most producers suffered from insufficient links downstream with clothes’ manufacturers and retailers.28

blin et blin: a case study

  • 29 J-C. Daumas, L’amour du drap. Blin et Blin, 1827-1975. Histoire d’une entreprise lainière familial (...)

16A sectoral approach does not fully explain the delays and failures of the modernisation process, especially market and management failures. In order to do so, it is necessary to study companies. Blin et Blin, which has exceptionally detailed archives, offers some insights into what went wrong.29 Blin et Blin was founded in 1827 in Alsace but moved to the Normandy town of Elbeuf after the German annexion. During the 1920s, it opened subsidiaries in Northern France and Britain and became one of France’s leading woollen manufacturers. In 1958, it occupied thirteenth position by sales and number of employees, and specialised in luxury woollen cloth, which proved less and less suited to market demand after the war. Blin turned to exports to compensate for a declining home market and twice won an ‘Oscar’ for best exporter. But its problems increased in the 1960s as sales continued to drop. Aging machinery, under-investment, family quarrels, management apathy and rising staff turnover and costs eventually led to closure in 1975. Blin’s history illustrates the dilemmas of a sector where family firms specialising in high quality niche markets were plethoric.

  • 30 These remarks are based on a study of the archives of several medium-size family firms: Blin et Bl (...)

17The sources do not offer many insights into the evolution of woollen management methods during the age of affluence. In 1969, the Planning Commission stressed that only a handful of firms had adopted American-style management methods. La Lainière was one: its top management possessed university degrees, family members had stepped back from day to day management, and the firm had adopted a functional organisation and standard accounting methods. But apart from a handful of timid attempts at adapting American techniques, the majority of firms remained faithful to a traditional management model. This involved direct family control through an autocratic CEO, changing and ill-defined organisation charts that eschewed functional organisation, an obsession with secrecy, haphazard accounts with no cost accounting, and little attempt at personnel management.30

18The Blin et Blin archives offer some insights as to why American-style management methods were not adopted. Management and staff alike were deeply reluctant to change and favoured the status quo. Major issues were put aside, and by the time they were addressed, it was too late to save the company. This was made possible by the lack of professional management and some organisational failures. The first problem was an autocratic management style. The Blin family retained total control over both the firm’s strategy and day to day management. The CEO, always a family member, exercised absolute power over other family members and the professional managers, who were mere executants, implementing orders from above. Nearly all the CEO’s time was spent managing day to day operations. He had little time to think of the wider picture and refused to be drawn on what he called “the big issues”. He and the other top managers focused on short-term problems and dealt with them on a day to day basis, without thinking of the overall strategy. Demands by some shareholders for an independent audit were fiercely resisted by the CEO, who found the idea “useless, costly and dangerous”. He preferred the status quo and did not wish to disturb the alliances forged inside the boardroom.

19This autocratic management style was compounded by failure to adopt a functional organisation. Production responsibilities were split by stage (spinning, weaving, dying and finishing) and sales by geographical market, with a further division between men’s and women’s wear. The lack of a production manager, on the one hand, and of an overall sales manager, on the other, meant no-one focused on organising production, on measuring investment, productivity and costs, and on analysing market trends. This goes a long way to explaining the obsolescence of the machinery and the growing chasm between products and market demands. Besides, the fact that some managers were in charge of both production and sales, and that strategic and operational responsibilities were not clearly defined, led to conflict and tensions.

20A third weakness was a lack of professional training. In 1969, only 20 per cent of managers had university degrees and 41 per cent had no degree at all. They learned on the job and rose through internal promotion, as the company preferred empirical know-how and experience to theoretical knowledge. This was clear from the decision-making process: managers had to rely on their intuition, as they had no support team in charge of gathering information and analysing it. No systematic research was conducted about markets, competition and investment. Worse, standard methods of accounting were not applied before 1968, so that the accounts were of little help as a decision-making tool. All this led the company to some disastrous decisions. For example, it tried the shuttleless loom in 1967, before most competitors, but decided against it. Unfortunately, this loom spread and replaced older technologies in the 1970s.

21Resistance to the introduction of professional management was strong. Mounting criticism of the company’s organisation and working practices was mostly ignored by top management. The only major change was the creation of a post of ‘technical director’, as top management recognise the crucial importance of productivity and costs in ensuring the company’s survival. But the introduction of professional management was fiercely resisted. In 1949, 1964 and 1971, the company hired engineers from one of the top engineering schools, trained in modem management techniques. They were put in charge of sorting out production, investment and costs. But faced by a tierce resistance from workers unwilling to change and a total lack of support from other managers, all three were rapidly isolated and preferred to quit. This suggests that Blin’s corporate culture was deeply resistant to change.

  • 31 Union des Industries Textiles, L'exportation vers les Etats-Unis, Paris, UIT, 1971.

22Fascinated by the potential of the US market, the managers of Blin et Blin made several attempts to develop sales of woollens to America. In 1947, they entered into a joint venture with some Boston merchants, the Verney Corporation, to sell quality camel cloth for overcoats, which ended in total disarray. Verney, feeling the time was not right, did not exhibit Blin cloth at the New York 1947 textile fair. For their part, Blin could only deliver 40 of the promised 500 pieces, at a price that was totally unacceptable in the American market. The deal had not been thought through, especially with regards to supplies, production costs, exchange rates and duties. Undeterred, Blin tried again in 1952 with a subsidiary of a French cloth merchant company, the Ducharne Silk Corporation. For a while, sales were high: between 1955 and 1960, they represented about a third of the firm’s exports, but they declined rapidly during the 1960s and became insignificant in the 1970s. These failures can be explained by the firm’s high prices, which prevented it from entering the lucrative tailoring market. In this highly standardised market, originality and flair came second to price. In France, prices were fixed in relation to production costs, but in the US, demand determined the final price of goods. The Blin management failed to grasp this difference. This, according to the Textile Industry Union, was a mistake common to many French would-be exporters to the US: “French industrialists cannot expect to succeed if they do not recognise the specific character of this market and adapt their marketing structures accordingly... As long as they refuse to recognise this specificity and will not change their strategy and organisation, the French textile companies will only know limited and one-off success”.31

23Blin’s pattern of exports illustrates this failure to adapt to the rising mass market. Between 1955 and 1970, its sales to industrialised countries, mainly in Europe and North America, dropped from 77.4 per cent to 24 per cent, whereas exports to developing countries rose from 22.1 per cent to 45 per cent. It gradually lost market share in countries where consumption entered the age of mass markets, tastes became standardised, off-the-peg tailoring became the norm and large retail chains dominated sales. Blin tried to compensate for these losses by developing exports to countries where inequalities remained high and where the elites strived to differentiate themselves through a dress code that involved small tailoring outfits and cloth bought by the meter. For Blin, rising exports (they went from 12.4 per cent of total sales in 1946 to 56.6 per cent in 1970) were not a success story. They showed the firm’s desperate attempt to find new markets for antiquated products and its inability to adapt to the needs of the ‘modem’ Western consumer.

conclusion

24The American productivity mission of 1951 brought new insights to the debate on the future of the French woollen industry. But the industry had already given much thought to its problems and possible remedies. Factory modernisation and company integration were driven by competitive pressures rather than by a will to imitate American manufacturers. Overall, the American model had a very limited influence on strategic choices and organisation. Product standardisation, integration of production and sales, and the redesign of factory lay out remained an exception. Most companies paid lip service to modernisation but failed to implement it to any great extent. Woollen manufacturers could not convert from a ‘production culture’ to a ‘market culture’. In particular, they failed to adapt their prices and products to an emerging mass market. Many firms, such as Blin et Blin, which had built their success on high quality goods, disappeared when consumers switched to cheaper products. And whilst it is true that some firms, mostly in the North and Southwest, did increase mechanisation and experimented with synthetic fibre to make products that were both cheaper and more user friendly, nearly all of them failed to adopt modem methods of marketing and sales. In the end, the main impact of the American model was to refocus attention on the ‘human factor’ behind the success of American firms. But only a handful of the biggest companies adopted modem management methods, and the French solution of ‘paritarisme’ ended up as a very poor substitute for American-style industrial relations. The woollen industry offers a good example of a limited modernisation which fell short of full Americanisation.

***

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Notes

1 I am deeply indebted to Isabelle Lescent-Giles who translated this article so skilfully.

2 J-P. Daviet, “The productivity missions and their influence on the modernisation of the French wool industry”, in D. Barjot, J. Gillingham and T. Hara (eds.), Catching up with America: productivity missions and the diffusion of American economic and technological influence after the second world war (forthcoming).

3 For the ‘productivity missions’ in a wider context, and debate about their impact, see Ibid.

4 79 J 1681cc 833, Archives Départementales du Nord (Lille).

5 CCI, Monographie de l’industrie lainière, SA 63, Service des Archives Economiques et Financières (Savigny-le-Temple).

6 F 12 10426, Archives Nationales, Paris [hereafter AN],

7 P. Mioche, Le plan Monnet. Genèse et élaboration, 1941-1947, Paris, Publications de la Sorbonne, 1987, p. 220.

8 Plan Monnet, Commission du textile, F 12/10434, AN.

9 F 12/10435, AN.

10 A. Laloux,Industrie lainière française, Paris, IEP, 1948, p. 147-158.

11 CCL, “Schéma général des actions de productivité”, September 1953, F 12/10542, AN.

12 CCL, “Compte-rendu de la journée d’études du 28 mai 1952”, F12/10542, AN.

13 Ibid.

14 CCL, Journée d’études de Paris le 28 mai 1952 and “Programme en matière de productivité”, 1 September 1953, F12/10542, AN.

15 M. Battiau, Les industries textiles de la région Nord-Pas-de-Calais: Etude d’une concentration géographique d’entreprises et de sa remise en cause, Atelier de reproduction des thèses, Lille III, 1976, p. 424-445, 627-667, 806-807; M. Le Goff, L'industrie lainière d’Elbeuf-Louviers, DES, Université de Rouen, 1965; Industrie lainière française, 1973 et 1975; 77 J 1176 et 1181, Archives Départementales de Seine-Maritime (Rouen) [hereafter ADSM].

16 P. Bairati, Sul filo di lana. Cinque generazioni di imprenditori: i Marzotto, Bologne, Il Mulino, 1986.

17 E. Schmill, Evolution des structures de l’industrie lainière française (1945-1960). Essai d’analyse économique d'une branche industrielle, Paris, Ed. Cujas, 1964, p. 203; and Industrie lainière française, 1975.

18 CCL, Annuaire statistique 1953, 1954, and Industrie lainière française, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975.

19 CCL, Annuaire statistique 1953,1954, and Industrie lainière française, 1973, 1975.

20 Industrie lainière française, 1968, and Schmill 1964: 213.

21 Schmill 1964: 77, and Industrie lainière française, 1975.

22 Compte rendu de la réunion du 16 septembre 1953, F 12/10542, AN.

23 P. Belleville, Une nouvelle classe ouvrière, Paris, Julliard, 1962, p. 115-119.

24 D. Lahalle, “Problèmes du syndicalisme ouvrier. Observations faites au cours d’une enquête sociologique dans l’industrie textile du Nord”, Revue française de sociologie, 3, 1962, p. 155.

25 Ibid. : 157.

26 Ibid. 156-157.

27 Belleville 1962: 143-145.

28 Rapport du comité sectoriel de l’industrie textile, Commissariat général au plan, 22 décembre 1969, 77 J 1173, ADSM.

29 J-C. Daumas, L’amour du drap. Blin et Blin, 1827-1975. Histoire d’une entreprise lainière familiale, Besançon, PUFC, 1999.

30 These remarks are based on a study of the archives of several medium-size family firms: Blin et Blin (77 J, Archives Départementales de Seine Maritime,), Tiberghien frères (24 Z 9, 10 and 11, Archives communales de Tourcoing,), Warnier-David (36 J, Archives Départementales de la Marne,) and the Etablissements Paul et Jean Tiberghien (Archives du Crédit National).

31 Union des Industries Textiles, L'exportation vers les Etats-Unis, Paris, UIT, 1971.

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