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POCLAIN,  a story like no other!


Georges BATAILLE Founder of the "ATELIERS de POCLAIN" 

Historic crossroads of Roman roads, Le Plessis Belleville is located on the borders of Picardy and Ile de France, 40 km north-east of Paris. Known for its agriculture and para-agricultural activities, it was the creation of the first hydraulic excavator that made the name of Plessis Belleville famous throughout the world.
Le Plessis Belleville is the crossroads of the west-east route: Paris -Soissons and the north-south route: Lille-Senlis -  Meaux - Dijon.

This crossroads, which has existed since the Romans, took off in the 17th century with the construction of the castle of Mr de Guénégaud, treasurer of Marie de Médicis and a great reformer of the currency in France.









Became Pierre Guénégaud, Plessis d'Allègre, Plessis Ponchartrain, then Plessis Conti, the town became Le Plessis Belleville at the beginning of the 19th century after the destruction of the castle. In the 18th century, the Prince of Conti had the streets of his town paved, which became renowned throughout Valois for "the beautiful condition of its streets".
In 1795, the last owner of the château, M.Brodelet, encouraged progress in agriculture and animal husbandry, notably bringing ewes   and rams from Spain to improve the genetic quality of the herds.
After 1812, the castle being completely destroyed, the 70 hectare park was transformed into arable land and the farms were sold to the
Duke of Cambaceres. The entire population then devotes itself to agricultural work.






The geographical location, at the crossroads of major communication routes and at the crossroads of several natural regions, as well as the dynamism of the inhabitants have favored the evolution of Plessis Belleville towards para-agricultural activities.
Distillery of alcohol, cultivation and scutching of flax, storage of cereals, canning of vegetables, fruit cooperative and the mechanical industry first with agricultural vehicles, then since 1951 the hydraulic excavators POCLAIN.
The name "
POCLAIN" is still known throughout the world today. It originated from the name of the place called "L'enclos de Poclain" resulting from the contraction of the terms "linen pocket" in Picard patois, a damp local place where flax was left to ret (macerate) for a certain time before making it usable and marketable!













The population of Plessis Belleville has varied a lot according to the times:
1793: 364 inhabitants, 1872: 385 inhabitants, 1921: 421 inhabitants, 1954: 560 inhabitants

1982: 1816 inhabitants,  2007: 3090 inhabitants,  2021: 3287 inhabitants.
In addition to the two national roads (RN2 & RN330) the town is served by a train station (Paris - Laon) and has a small tourist airfield.
Poclain's economic activity has developed throughout the region, particularly in the towns of Crépy en Valois, Compiègne, Verberie and Tracy le Mont. 

The first hydraulic excavator was designed in1949and presented at the Agricultural Machinery Show in October1951.

This machine would revolutionize the world of Public Works.
poclainwould become the world leader by being present in more than 180 countries.

If  today Le Plessis Belleville is known throughout the world, it is because on June 1, 1927, a local farmer, ingenious and in love with mechanics, by the name ofGeorge Bataille, signed the creation of the "Battle & Light Workshops"(from the name of his partner) which will later become "Bataille & son workshops"then the"Poclain workshops"before becoming thePoclain company.
The small agricultural equipment repair workshop dating from 1927 was quickly transformed into a production workshop. He then makesspreaders, crawler wagons for transporting beets, three-wheeled carts, tricballes and flatbed trucks for transporting wood.








In 1938, Georges Bataille imagined trailers with a single wheel at the front, known as "Trirou".









1951: Release of the first hydraulic shovel, driven by the PTO of a tractor.


1956: theYOUhas been sold for more than1000 copies.

TheTOsucceeds him and Poclaininvents the hydraulic clamshell bucket.
At the same time, Georges Bataille is seriously considering the export market by creating a subsidiary in Germany.

1960: Creation of a training center in Montagny Sainte Félicité (driving school and training for mechanics) with 120 trainees from the first year.

1961: The hydraulic excavator is 10 years old and already6500 shovels were soldduring this period. After theTOand theYOU, were bornTYandTYA, the first self-propelled excavators. 1961 saw the birth of the famousTY45, who will becomethe most widely used hydraulic excavator on construction sites all over the world.

1963: Inauguration atCompiègne a production unit for cowlings and cabins.
Also extension of the sales network in Germany. Creation of subsidiaries in Belgium, Spain, Italy, Austria, USA and Canada.

1965:10,000 Poclain excavators are at work worldwide. 5 new models from 7 to 20 tonnes are added to the range. inauguration of aproduction plant in Crépy en Valois. Assignment of a manufacturing license to the Japanese company YUTANI;

1966:   Opening of a sales subsidiary in Hong Kong. Organization of "Spring Days" and "International Days" which each year bring together thousands of visitors to the Plessis Belleville site.Creation of the PPM company(Poclain Potain Materials) intended to manufacture mobile cranes.

1967:Stone Battlesucceeds its founding father as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The company then had 13 subsidiaries, 30 branches and 70 dealers in 80 countries and employed 3,740 people, including 2,809 in France.

1968: Creation of the Division "Poclain Hydraulics", a company that still shines today on the international market of hydraulic components. Takeover of the Spanish companyTUSA(Talleres Unidos SA), which in addition to its specific products, manufactures low-end hydraulic excavators. Establishment of a subsidiary in Mexico, which will manufacture excavators under license. The same year Poclain expands its range and tackles the large machine market.

1969: Creation ofCMC(Constructions Mécaniques de Carvin-59), a loader manufacturing plant.

1970: 20 years after the TU, Poclain is revolutionizing the market by releasing theEC 1000, 900hp excavatorand 125t, the largest hydraulic excavator in the world at the time. Poclain gets theGrand Prix Hors Concours de l'Oscar de l'Exportationand exports to more than 180 countries. Le Plessis Belleville is known throughout the world.
The same year saw the establishment in Plessis Belleville of the
Central Service and Spare Parts, still operational today within the CNH group. It is then more than 2000 people who come to work at Plessis Belleville every day.

1971: Creation of subsidiaries in Brazil and Sweden as well as production plants in Mexico and Spain.

1972: Inauguration ofSMT(Tournai Mechanical Company),   high tonnage excavator production unit in Belgium.

1973: This year,4869 excavatorsare manufactured and sold worldwide.

1891excavators are produced under license in Japan, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, India and South Korea.51275 Poclain shovelshave been produced since 1951.

1974: Appearance of 4 new models, first models of a new range of 15 models from 12 to 210 tonnes. On this date, the group's workforce was 10,270 people.














The Training Center is transferred to the new site in Monthyon (77). Ten thousand trainees have been trained since 1960. But the first oil crisis forces the Company to seek alliances.

1976: Trade agreements with SwedenVOLVO BMW.

1977:   Financial and commercial agreements with the American groupTENNECOwhich takes a 40% stake in the company.

nineteen eighty one:J.I. CASE, division ofTenneco, increases its stake. it will become a majority shareholder in 1985. Pierre Bataille then personally buysPoclain Hydraulicswhich was not part of the agreement withJI Case.

1988: Release of the last red shovel on the assembly line of the Crépy en Valois factory.

1995:   The headquarters of Plessis Belleville is closed. the workforce is transferred to Crépy en Valois and Villepinte. The Plessis Belleville site is now converted into a Business Center under the name ofEGB (Space Georges Bataille).

1999: Definitive disappearance of the Poclain name on the materials produced.

2003: Permanent closure of the Crépy en Valois plant

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This is just a brief summary of Poclain's history, would you like to know more?

The "Living Memory" color booklet of nearly 200 pages brings together the entire epic of the company from its foundation to its takeover by CASE, testimonials, dates, anecdotes with many color and B&W photos from the company's archives.

The bookletis  also available in English language. 






14 rue du Vert Buisson



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