Conducts research and collects data on the global history of labour, workers, and labour relations

Industrial Innovation

11 May 1889
Hydro-electric paper mill 1882
BG T2/30

In the Alps the water bubbles and rushes very rapidly. Aristide Bergès, a French paper manufacturer, had an idea to transfer the energy of the waterfall into electricity. In Lancey, near Grenoble, a hydro-electric paper mill arose, and Aristide Bergès (1833-1904) went down in history as the promoter of “white coal.” He presented the innovation at the World Fair in Paris (from 6 May until 31 October 1889).

The labour movement welcomed the new source of energy, as working with hydro-energy was much cleaner and less dangerous than mining black coal.

The production process at the paper mill was photographed in 1882 and 1883.