Benjamin Raspail & Sons

Tuesday, June 4 2013, 8:57 PM

It has become a bit of a tradition for me to let this website die and then revive it with all the good intentions in the world to keep posting new stuff and this time definitely for real unlike the last times yaddah yaddah yaddah, but here we go again...

The last time I had visited a mid-sized abandoned metal manufacturing business was Metal Works August, in 2009. Meeting up once again with urbancologne for the first time since then (if I haven't forgotten anything), we set sails to visit another one.

Oven Doors
Oven Doors

Benjamin Raspail started a company that manufactured metal parts used in shoes in 1827. The business went well and in the 1860s had to move to a larger location. They got their hands on a failed farm for an attractive price and built an entirely new factory. The sons took over the business and the range of products expanded to blades, knifes and later parts of agricultural machines.

Casting Mold
Casting Mold

When agriculture became less and less important for the European countries' economies, revenue started to drop. The number of employees was reduced from more than 1,000 to under 300 and despite best efforts to establish new product lines, the company went bankrupt in 1999. The remains were taken over by another company and production moved to a new factory. The old factory was left mostly abandoned.

Urban Still Life
Urban Still Life

Today, some of the office buildings on the large factory area have been rented out to different companies and institutions, but some of the manufacturing halls remain in their old glory. We weren't sure what to expect after such a long time of abandonment and were pleasantly surprised to find numerous items and tools still lying around, despite a few traces of vandalism and graffiti.
From a photographer's point of view, a sheer endless amount of details was waiting to be captured almost everywhere. I had contemplated bringing along the analog camera but ultimately decided against it. Now I think the location would have been perfect for the film treatment.

Club Mate
Club Mate

In addition to the offices, a few halls have been rented out to local farmers. Farmers or whoever else drives around with tractors on Sunday mornings. Of course, we heard and saw them long before they could ever spot us and avoided them for a while, waiting for them to leave the premises again. After about half an hour, we got bored and decided to head to the nearest fast food joint for some lunch. As we walked past on the street outside, the driver of the last tractor on the terrain was standing next to his bike, ready to go home. But at that point we were too hungry to go back inside.

More photos in the Gallery:

Raspail & Sons

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