« Salon de Provence golden age»

soap capital 1873

1500-1600 – Salon the merchant city
Located at the crossroads of the major roads, Salon has always been a city of commerce. Wine growing was abundant and the oil industry was thriving. When Craponne built his canal the farmers planted olive oil trees over a large part of the land. The primary agricultural activities were olives and sheep raising. The craft and industrial activities were tanneries and silk factories.

1600 -1800 – Salon the industrial city
1603: A devastating winter destroyed the olive trees.
In 1709 Salon had a population of 4567.
1748: The production of silk is significant; the Salonaise weavers are assigned as instructors at the royal factory in Versailles.
1785: The industry is reduced to the production of candles; basic, rough sheets, leather and hats.

1800-1900 – Salon, city of oil and soap.
In 1801 100 olive trees remained out of the former 700,000. Eight soap factories imported soda from Arles and Marseille.
In 1813 fifteen carts are used for the import and export between Salon and Lyon and even Paris. The introduction of the train in 1873 allowed the oil industry to develop followed by the industries of soap and green coffee.
1885: Les Rampal, savonniers, travaillent à l’usine Marius Gounelle à Salon.

1900-1914 – Salon’s Golden Age
At the Universal Exposition in 1900, Salon was awarded for its extremely successful business in oil, soap and coffee. They became the first soap making center outside of Marseille.
1907: Creation of the Rampal Soap factory. The wealthy oil barons built beautiful houses. Everyone celebrates!
1909: A terrible earthquake destroys several soap factories.
1910: The packaging industry prospers—casks, barrels, cases, bottles, cans.

1914-2013 – The last soapmakers
1914: The war brought a definite halt to the oil business (importation of peanut oil).
1935: Soap factories continue to close.
1948: Nine soap factories remain in activity.
1945-1975: The service sector grows to the detriment of both industry and agriculture.
Today the Rampal factory continues its activity in the heart of Salon.