A geological and industrial heritage...
Lorraine has drawn much wealth from its subsoil. Over the years, the
earth has provided much material to satisfy the needs of industry.
Salt was first to be exploited, in Neolithic times, and continues to be
so in the Meurthe Valley.
The copper mines of Le Thillot saw black powder used for the first time,
they were exploited from the end of the 16th century until 1761.
During the Renaissance, the dukedom drew its wealth from the many veins
of silver, lead, and even mercury.
These minerals were first extracted in the 10th century for the benefit
of the Vosge monasteries.
As for the coal and iron industries, they contributed hugely to the
renown of the region and are ably described in sites preserving the memory of
an activity that once marked the landscape.
This brief survey would not be complete without mentioning the wood
industry and forestry, employing 28,000 workers in Lorraine.
Coal, iron and steel
Coal mining in Lorraine knew its apogee in the 19th century, under the
direction of the De Wendel family.
Iron extraction also knew a golden age up to the 1970s, giving the
region its onetime nickname of “the French Texas”.