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British Industrial History

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Vilanova, Domenech y Bergue

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of Spain

1839 Josep Vilanova and Joan Domènech and English engineer Michael de Bergue established a foundry and engineering business in the district of Barceloneta.

Michael de Bergue was one of several English mechanics who arrived in Barcelona in 1832 to erect and commission a steam engine bought by Bonaplata, Vilaregut, Rull y Cía from John Hall (of Dartford). De Bergue's father and three of his sons (Michael, Cornelius and August), worked as mechanics at the Bonaplata factory until it was destroyed by fire in 1835. Two other brothers, Charles and Henry, lived in London and Paris respectively.

1840 Vilanova left the business, and the company became Domènech y de Bergue, with Domènech being respnsible for administration and Michael de Bergue for technical aspects.

1841 Josep Prat i Puig joined the company. De Bergue remained in charge of the workshop, with Josep Prat as his immediate subordinate.

1842 Michael de Bergue left the company. British legislation against the export of machinery was being lifted, and there was a strong demand for British machinery in Europe. De Bergue's contacts and local prestige made him well-placed to be an agent for British manufacturers. In 1846 when he became the agent of J. and E. Hall of Dartford. The company became Domènech i Prat, and Josep Prat remained as the director until his death in an accident in the workshop in March 1845.

Since its foundation, the Domènech workshop had been the main Catalan representative of Hall of Dartford, and this connection was now lost. Joan Domènech sought another foreign manufacturer, and in 1846 signed an agreement with Alexander frères of Paris, Hall & Co's main rival in the area.

The above information is condensed from 'Les origines de l’industrie mécanique moderne en Catalogne : l’exemple de l’atelier de l’indiano Joan Domènech i Coll (1839-1867)[1]. Refer to this source for much more information.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] La dynamique historique de l'entrepreunariat en Méditerranée: 'Les origines de l’industrie mécanique moderne en Catalogne : l’exemple de l’atelier de l’indiano Joan Domènech i Coll (1839-1867)' - ' Origins of the modern mechanical engineering industry in Catalonia: the example of the workshop of the indiano Joan Domènech i Coll (1839-1867)' by Marc Gascon i Soler