Last modified: 2005-03-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: doubs | herimoncourt | bat(red) |
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by Arnaud Leroy
Hérimoncourt (3,900 inhabitants) is a small city located 10 km south-east of Montbéliard and close to the border with Switzerland.
Like other place names in the neighborhood (Héricourt, Audincourt), the
name of Hérimoncourt is probably an anthroponym based on the name of a
German lord called Harimund.
Hérimoncourt was incorporated to France at the end of the XVIIth century and to the department of Doubs in 1790.
In 1725, Jean-Jacques Peugeot owned in Sous-Cratet, a hamlet depending
on Hérimoncourt, a grain mill operated by the river Gland. His
descendants Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frédéric were allowed in 1812 to
transform the family mill into a steel factory, specialized in the
production of laminated steel. There was a strong local demand of such
steel, which was needed for the manufacturing of saw blades and
hairsprings. Peugeot also produced buffed cylindrical steel. In 1816,
the Peugeot Frères company registered its first patent for the
industrial manufacturing of saw blades. The company opened small
factories in the hamlets of Sous-Cratet, La Chapotte and Terre-Blanche
and started to manufacture a wide range of steel products.
In 1840, Peugeot started the production of coffee mills, later associated with the production of pepper mills, which made the national fame of the company. The company was so sucessful that the population of Hérimoncourt increased to 3,000 inhabitants and the city became a chef-lieu de canton (local administrative center). in 1899. Peugeot had to open more factories in the neighbouring cities.
In the beginning of the XXth century, Peugeot was the first company, along with Panhard, which produced and sold cars (automobiles). The company is still manufacturing cars (and coffee mills), but the center of the production was moved to Sochaux, near Montbéliard. The logotype of Peugeot is made of a yellow lion's head on blue, which seems not to have been inspired by the traditional coat of arms of Franche-Comté. In French, the engine of a car is colloquially called moulin, that is mill, and it is said that the name was coined after Peugeot's original production, the coffee mill.
A less famous person associated with Hérimoncourt is Lucien Quélet
(1832-1899), who spent most of his life in Hérimoncourt as a country
doctor. Quélet was fond of mushrooms and was one of the founding
members and the first President of the Société Mycologique de France,
founded in 1855.
Quélet identified and named more than 400 species of mushrooms and completely revamped the fungal taxonomy. He was able to apply the basic principles set up by the father of mycology, Elias Fries, in a more logical way. Most of the names given by Quélet are still valid. His masterpiece is Flore mycologique de la France et des pays limitrophes (Mycological flora of France and the bordering countries), a 492-page treaty still used as a main reference for the classification of polyporuses. Two mushroom species were named after him, Boletus queletii and Russula queletii.
Ivan Sache, 10 October 2004
The municipal flag of Hérimoncourt, as seen there by Pascal Vagnat, shows a red bat on a yellow field, surmonted by the name of the municipality in red letters. The inhabitants of Hérimoncourt are nicknamed chauves-souris (bats, lit. bald mice).
The municipal coat of arms of Hérimoncourt is (Brian Timms):
Gules a dragon rampant a bordure orThe dragon is allegedly considered as the heraldic ancestor of the bat. Timms does not buy this explanation, neither do I!
Ivan Sache, 10 October 2004