"He is impressed, this stranger, by the mass of smoke spread in the atmosphere [...]. It is industrial breathing, powerful and continuous, the testimony of an incessant and prodigious work". As Gaston Bonnefont testified in 1905, the Schneider factories emitted spectacular smoke characteristic of the industrial landscape.
Le Creusot thus became one of the most unhealthy and smoky places in France in the 19th century. Although these pollutions did not provoke many complaints from the inhabitants, outside observers were all struck by this smoky atmosphere, between admiration and fear.
From the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th, this lecture traces the evolution of the representations of these fumes and explores the debates and controversies they provoke.
Romain Mainieri has a master's degree in history. In 2021, his first master's thesis under the direction of François Jarrige, Une ville et ses fumées. Penser et représenter la pollution de l'air au Creusot (1836-1939) received the "young researcher" prize of the François Bourdon Academy and was published under the same title by Éditions de l'Harmattan in 2022.