Manufacture du Maine - Hôtel Cavaillé-Coll




When Aristide Cavaillé-Coll left the Workshops at 94, rue de Vaugirard which had been expropriated for the construction of the rue de Rennes, he bought a 2,279 sq. m. property on October 10 1868 "enclosed by walls on all sides and previously used as a public dance place and café. It was made up of a big garden, a large dance hall and various buildings". He kept the dance hall in the middle of the property arranging it as a showroom where the organs produced in the workshops that flanked it were assembled and displayed.

As proof of his success in society, Aristide Cavaillé-Coll had a house built, a sort of comfortable Mansion, surrounded by a courtyard and separated from the industrial buildings by a wall. Access to the buildings was through the caretaker's lodge opposite. The property opened on to the avenue du Maine, numbers 13 and 15.

This move was at the same time, a sign of the success of the Manufacture and of its decline. Mrs. Adèle Blanc-Cavaillé had barely moved in when she died on October 30 1868.

The great hall at the avenue du Maine lent itself to displaying the biggest instruments, like the one built for Mr. John Turner Hopwood, of London, a rich music publisher, which was installed at his home "Bracewell Hall" near Skipton in Yorkshire.

The War of 1870 broke out and there was a hard winter. Aristide Cavaillé-Coll had to make arrangements in a hurry.

The 1878 Exhibition gave rise to a moving gathering.

Gabriel Reinburg was the manager of the Manufacture and lived in the Cavaillé-Coll Mansion. The whole family was gathered there.

Vincent Cavaillé had also drawn closer to his brother. They were both widowers. The elder brother died in 1886.

On January 28 1891, Gabriel Reinburg, in turn died. His death sounded the death knell of the Manufacture avenue du Maine's prosperous era. On the request of the Cavaillé-Coll children - to meet the demands of the Crédit Foncière, their preferential lender which also held a mortgage on the buildings - a sale by auction was ordered carrying out a judgement handed down on November 5 1891 by the Chambre des Saisies Immobilières of the Seine Tribunal Civil. The list of authorised creditors of the compulsory liquidation was completed between March and May 1892. A legal settlement was drawn up and 54 of the 85 creditors present accepted it (May 27 1892). Aristide Cavaillé-Coll continued production in his workshops with ever increasing difficulties.

A rich merchant from Orléans, Emile Cholet, who had been lending to Cavaillé since 1881, bought the buildings and tools. He helped Cavaillé-Coll carry on the business by renting him back his premises.

The Cavaillé-Coll Mansion was assigned to the Institution de Barral in 1893 "because the premises are well ventilated and seem to have all the desired hygienic conditions". It was to be used as a young ladies' boarding school.

This was followed by retirement to 21 rue du Vieux-Colombier, where Aristide Cavaillé-Coll moved with his daughter and a household of devoted servants. Death took the "Patron" by surprise on October 13th 1899.

Charles Mutin, an old apprentice of the Company who had been in business in Caën for ten years, took over the business in June 1898. Meanwhile he had acquired the Maison Stolz which was included in the transfer of business agreed upon with the elderly Aristide Cavaillé-Coll.

The workshops were reorganised taking into account technical developments and new orders at the dawn of the XXth Century.