"Experton Frère & Soeur" stock
In 1899, the 3 chidren of Régis Experton, lace manufacturer
from Chamalières-sur-Loire (4 km away from Retournac), start
the "Experton Frères & Sœur" enterprise, which
becomes in 1903, after the departure of one of the brothers, the
"Experton Frère & Sœur" compagny with Auguste
and Claire running it. In 1913 they build a large manufacture, which
today houses the museum.
Collections : furniture and tools belonging to the workshop
operating chain, lace pattern (about 20000 models for frills,
straight lace, inserts, house linen, handkerchieves, lingerie, church
linen, etc.), sample-books, stocks of lace yardage, of inserts and
lace framings for linen, archives.
"Auguste Experton & Fils" stock
1932 sees the break-up of the family enterprise. Each starts its
own lace manufacture in Retournac : Auguste Experton builds a new
one further uphill, "Auguste Experton & Fils", which
will cease its activity between 1975 and 1980.
Collections : the building, the workshop preserved in its original order, with
the whole of its furniture, its archives,
its lace patterns (around 5000) and stock and a remarkable stock
of textile and Art Deco documentation for designers including 65000
documents, such as paisley design (1810-1845), studies of flowers
(1846-1849), silk sample-albums (1831-1930), etc.
"Claire Experton & Cie" stock
In 1932, Claire Experton carries on in the original building ;
she starts a partnership with Blanche Gayat, the ex-supervisor of
"Experton Frère & Sœur". The manufacture is
then re-named "Claire Experton & Cie".
In 1937, "Claire Experton & Cie" is awarded a gold
medal during the Paris Arts and Techniques International Exhibition.
Collections : furniture, models (around 5000, some of which "Art Déco"
style and some remarkable projects for house linen with flower inserts
in colour dating 1940 à 1960), yardage, archives (including the diploma and gold medal of 1937).
After the death of Claire Experton and Blanche Gayat in 1948,
the heirs sold the enterprise in 1953. In 1973, the manufacture
is bought by the Alibert family, lace makers from Craponne-sur-Arzon
(20 Km away from Retournac). Francis Alibert, manager, directs the
production towards house linen made with bobbin-lace and with mechanical
In 1984 Francis Alibert converts the lower ground floor of the building
into a mechanical workshop with 34 circular braiding machines. The
enterprise shuts down in 1997.
Collections : stock of around 5000 designs on tracing
paper of models for yardage, dresses, linen from 1880-1920, mechanical
workshop in its original state with its 34 circular braiding machines,
around 10000 patterns and 3800 jacquard models, stock of mechanical
Around 1941, Auguste Experton purchases a part of the stock and
models from an important hand-lace manufacture in Craponne-sur-Arzon
: "Surrel Frères" which activity spanned from 1853
to the end of the 1930's.
Collections : around 38000 pricked cards (1850-1930), sample-albums,
furniture and around 10000 samples of bobbin-lace.
Before the Second World War, Auguste Experton purchases the stock
and models of the "Jean-François Homard" enterprise,
small hand-lace manufacture from Saint-Pal-en-Chalencon (25 km away
Collections : around 4000 pricked cards a reference album, stock of
inserts and samples.
"Chouchette/ Babytextil" stock
"Chouchette/Babytextil" is an old baby clothes factory
purchased by Paul Experton (Auguste Experton's son) in 1946 so as
to diversify the lace industry.
Collections : sets of baby clothes (1950-1970).
"Tissages de Retournac" stock
In 1929 the Experton family builds a silk weaving workshop : "les
Tissages de Retournac". The workshop was closed in 1951.
Collections : selection of machines representing the weaving
activity (warper, warper-pins winder, weaving looms).
In 1994, Retournac's council acquires some parts of this
old manufacture closed in 1992. It was funded in 1903 by François-Joseph
Experton, brother of Auguste and Claire Experton. His daughter Aimée,
married Auguste Fouilly, son of an important lace manufacture from
Craponne-sur-Arzon. They funded the "Fouilly-Experton"
Collections : furniture, sample-albums, stock items, pricked