Named after their geografical origin, the Tusey Foundries were indeed settled next to Vaucouleurs, in the French department of Meuse. The numerous and successive owners of the forge’s main commitment was to develop the activity of the firm, maintaining an aesthetic as well as historic continuity, while attaching their identity to the name of the foundries.
In a publication of April the 1rst, 1897, the foundries and construction workshops of Tusey describe, through a preamble, the establishment’s genesis :
« Fonded by Mr. Muel, and then developped by Mr. Wahl, Mr. Zégut and Mr. Gasne, the Tusey factories were, in France, the creator for an industry of artistic and ornamental cast iron, which they contributed to improve and expend.
Through their large collection of all sorts of models, through their extent, their organisation, their equipment, the Tusey factories can satisfy every orders they receive, and prepare or execute every projects that they would welcome ».
Pierre Adolphe Muel, the forge’s founder, owned a shop in the rue Aumaire (now rue au Maire) in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris. He was honoured the great order for two fountains and sixteen rostral columns that would take placed on the Place de la Concorde, next to the Tuileries. This major work ensured fame and recognition to the fondries, which stated loud and clear their position in the artistic bronze field, at the crossroad between Fine Arts and industry.
Louis Gasne was the last master of the forges before Dufilhol and Chapal arrived. He interested himself to the cire perdue technique to create artistic, cast iron pieces, in parallel to the industrial activity of the furnaces, giving to Meuse’s most famous foundry a strong, artistic orientation that his successors tried to sustain. We can notice that in 1897, the three main and claimed lines developped by the Tusey foundries in their catalogue are artistic cast irons, ornamental cast irons and religious cast irons.
From 1896 to 1898, two men directed the Tusey foundries, for a short, shared reign : Gaston Chapal, who was nevertheless called by his father as soon as 1898 to take over the familial foundries and workshops in Kerloc (Morbihan), letting P. Dufilhol sole master on board.
With Dufilhol, the foundries presented during the 1900 World’s Fair a cast iron Valet de chien (that-is-to-say, a valet for dogs during the hunt) by Dagonet, next to urban furniture elements and decorative pieces.
Unfortunate circumstances stroke Dufilhol, who declared bankrupcy in 1904. Laurent Chevailler, who took over the foundry after 1904, did support the war effort during World War I by producing grenades for the French Army, but quickly after the armistice, at the beginning of the 1920s, ceased for good the artistic cast irons production in Tusey, to concentrate on funerary monuments.
After his death, the foundries kept on going their activities until 1935, when the firm now called « The heirs of L. Chevailler » had to declare bankrupcy again. The study of a 1925 catalogue confirms the end of interest for artistic cast irons, in order to favour locksmithing mostly.
The last owner of the furnaces, Pierre Esch, transformed the firm’s name in « Vaucouleurs’s foundries », after merging the Tusey workshops with an anonymous society for Meuse’s foundries and workshops in 1961. The year 1963 marks the abandon of the historical site, the whole production being from this point forward concentrated in Vaucouleurs.
The models coming from the Tusey foundries, were bought by Capitain-Géry and Salin, two others masters of the forges who became the last heirs for the Tusey foundries’ legacy. We know that it is now the municipality community of Haute-Saulx who is the owner of the Salin collection.