Friday, 30 July 2010

France : Pont-à-Mousson

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See also pages for individual regions and towns in France.


Many manhole covers in France, and increasingly in many other counties, bear the brand name PAM with its distinctive bridge trade mark. The new Princesshay development in Exeter installed some of their products in 2007. They are manufactured by Saint-Gobain PAM, a metallurgy company which is a branch of Saint-Gobain Canalisation. The birth of the enterprise was in 1854 when the discovery of iron ore deposits was made in Lorraine at Marbache, in Meurthe-et-Moselle. The factory at Pont-à-Mousson (hence the initials PAM) was founded in 1856 and the first cast-iron water-main was produced in 1866. During the 19th century the firm supplied many towns in France and Europe with iron water mains and in 1886 the creation of the Société Anonyme des Hauts-Fourneaux et Fonderies de Pont-à-Mousson reflected the main area of activity of the firm - cast ironwork. Activities spread to South America in 1937. In 1970, bringing together several industrial firms in France, Germany and Brazil, Pont-à-Mousson S.A. merged with the Compagnie de SAINT-GOBAIN. International development continued from the 1980s, spreading to Spain, to Great Britain, to Asia in 1997 and to South Africa in 1998. In 2006 Saint-Gobain Canalisation employed more than 9,000 persons world-wide, of which 2,850 were employed by Saint-Gobain-PAM. A visit to the town in 2007 ascertained that the firm had full order books for the next four years. Website:

The bridge at Pont-à-Mousson. The old bridge, which provided the inspiration for the firm's logo was destroyed in World War 2.
The PAM-Gobion Foundry at Pont-à-Mousson. The trucks in the railway sidings contain products of the foundry.
Pont a Mousson. An excellent early example, seen in Coutances, Manche. The town of Roscoff has numerous examples of this style of manhole cover, the strong design complementing admirably the heavy granite buildings of this Breton port.
Pont-à-Mousson. Another early style design seen in Pont-à-Mousson.
Pont-à-Mousson. Fonte ductile. A wave pattern forms one of the more distinctive designs of the PAM foundry. Seen in Pont-à-Mousson.

A version of the wave design with arabic inscriptions, seen in Najac

PAM InterAx. Seen in Newton Ferrers, Devon. A typical example of the style of cover to be found across Europe.

PAM Rexel. Another widely seen design, this one spotted in Zurich
Classe 250. An anonymous design seen in Roscoff.

An anonymous design in the historic village of Minerve, showing how cobbles are fitted into the cast iron frame to blend in with the street surface.

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