Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

The story of Rhodia

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Rhodia display 1955

The stationers known as the “Papeteries Verilhac freres” was founded in Lyon in 1932 by two brothers, Henri and Robert Verilhac. They came from a family of paper merchants, with two brothers from the previous generation having set up a family business selling paper mainly to the southern part of France and the French overseas departments in North Africa.

Rhodia display 1954

From 1932 onwards, they concentrated on producing and selling stationery, exercise books, and, later on, the Rhodia notebook.

In September 1934, the company, originally located in Lyon, moved to Sechilienne near Grenoble in the Romanche Valley because of size, labor costs and its proximity to the paper factories.

In the 1950s, a production unit was set up in southern Algiers. This unit used paper produced locally, and supplied the substantial North African market.

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Loss of the North African market in the 1960s forced the company to continue expansion in Northern France and internationally.

In 1968, catastrophic flooding in the Romanche valley destroyed 50% of the Sechilienne plant. The factory was rebuilt and extended, with premises erected on a new site in Vizille. In 1997, the company was bought by the Clairefontaine Group, production was transferred to Mulhouse (department number 68) and the new group Clairefontaine Rhodia was born.

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Rhodia office

The RHODIA trademark

The Rhodia trademark dates back to 1932 and points to the group’s Rhodian origins. It predates the other similar trademarks (such as Chimie). Legend has it that the two Rhodia fir trees symbolize the two founding brothers.

The RHODIA notebook

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The Rhodia notebook, originally a sideline for Rhodia, was to become its leading light. It was designed to provide a high quality notebook for note taking and immediately overshadowed other notebooks of the period because of its quality materials and original design (its scored folding front cover). Over the course of time, it has come to symbolize a notebook of quality.

The orange cover dates back to the standard colors in use at the time of its creation, and remains unchanged to this day.

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Used with permission from their website.
Text and images copyright (c) Clairefontaine-Rhodia.
All rights reserved.


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