Ce siècle avait deux ans ! Rome remplaçait Sparte,
Déjà Napoléon perçait sous Bonaparte,
Victor Hugo (né en 1802)
Théodose Dubois was born on the twenty-first Nivôse of the year X (that is to say on January 11, 1802) in Chantenay-Villedieu, a small town in Sarthe. In these last years of the French revolution, France was then ruled by Napoleon Bonaparte, the first Consul who would soon become Emperor under the name of Napoleon I.
Theodosius and his older sister, Rosalie, saw their father die in 1804, when Theodosius was two years old.
It seems that Théodose remained close to his Sarthe family, because while he spent all his life in Paris and Montreuil, it was in Chantenay-Villedieu that he died on September 24, 1872, in his sister’s house. , before being buried in the cemetery of Montreuil, where his grave is still visible.
Why and how did this young native of Sarthe find himself making candles in Paris? We do not know it. But that’s not all that surprising. The upheavals that France had undergone during the Revolution and then the Empire had profoundly transformed social, scientific and economic structures, making possible many entrepreneurial adventures like those of Théodose Dubois, in the midst of the industrial revolution.
Founded in 1820, the company was then located at 35, rue des Lombards, in the heart of the district between Les Halles and Le Chatelet. This district, in its still medieval streets, brings together many small industrial enterprises and craftsmen, in particular wax workers who make and sell candles, tapers and candles.
In 1830, Théodose Dubois absorbed another candle-making company, Maison Bertrand, also located on rue des Lombards.
He married in 1834 with Léonie Courtier. The couple will have 5 children.
Invented around 1830, the stearic candle was extremely successful, and as often in the history of successful innovations, despite the attempts of its inventors to reserve the exclusivity of the exploitation of this invention, many stearineries are emerging. At the 1839 exhibition, there were already nine exhibitors of stearic candles.
Théodose Dubois is also embarking on the applications of this new technology. He manufactures stearin and a stearic candle which he markets under the name “bougie de la Ruche”.
To make his products known, he participated in industrial exhibitions, very popular in the 19th century. The refinements in the molding he made earned him a favorable citation at the great Exposition of French Industry in 1844. He also participated in the exhibition of 1855.
Théodose Dubois involved his two sons in the running of the business: René (born in 1835) and Ernest (born in 1843).
From the 1850s, Théodose Dubois’s business experienced great dynamism. It combines two activities: it manufactures stearin then it transforms this stearin into candles and tapers. In this, it differs from the small candle manufacturers who were content to buy stearin from producers of this raw material.
From the 1850s, Dubois was therefore already a producer of chemicals!
The company’s workshops are successively located in Montrouge and then in Boulogne-Billancourt, without being able to identify their precise location. Nevertheless, the transformation of tallow is a polluting and smelly industry which is gradually driven out of urban areas.
The part of rue des Lombards where the company is located will be demolished as part of the construction of the new boulevard which will be called Boulevard de Sébastopol. Théodose Dubois therefore moved his business to 22, rue du cloître St Merry.
In 1961, the Dubois house will move again. The company headquarters and the sales store left rue des Lombards and moved to nearby 91 and then 89, rue de la Verrerie in Paris. At the same time, the plant will be set up in Montreuil, on the outskirts of Paris, in an area that is still very little urbanized. The Dubois bought part of the estate of the old Château de Tillemont for this.
The company now bears the name “Dubois Père et ses fils”.
The Dubois company is inventive. She filed a fifteen-year patent on December 12, 1864 for a candle and candle casting machine. It thus shows that it holds an important place among the stearin trees and candle makers of the time.
In 1865, Ernest, one of Théodose Dubois’s sons, died at the age of 22, of suffocation in the settling pit of the factory, with one of the workers who tried to rescue him.
Following the death of Ernest, the company changed its name in 1866 to “Dubois Fils Aîné et cie”.
Théodose died in 1872, with his sister in Chantenay Villedieu, where he was born 70 years earlier. He leaves the management of the company to his eldest son, René-Alexandre Dubois.