In 1879, the Société des Mines de Fer de l'Anjou decided to create Forges at the village
of Montoir, in the hamlet of Trignac, to produce metal sheets for the shipuilders of Saint
Nazaire and for strategical reasons (it was far from the eastern borders of France).
The land was cheap in Trignac. For a very good reason ! It was situated in a swampy area,
in the Brière, between marshes and the estuary of the Loire. The factory's building costs
were increased, threatening its financial balance.
The remoteness of the sources of raw materials (coal, ore, additives) was another handicap
for this factory, and the production costs were increased too. The production still
started in 1882 with 1 024 workers. Saint Nazaire and Trignac became an industrial complex
: a steelmill and two major shipbuilding sites around which gravitated smaller workshops.
But the manpower, after having increased, was reduced and the company had to file for
bankruptcy in 1889 : it was bought by the Société des Aciéries, Hauts-Fourneaux et
Forges de Trignac in 1890 (1 800 workers in 1891).
In 1905 - 1910, it was bought and changed its name again : the Forges became Usines
Métallurgiques de la Basse Loire (UMBL). From that time untill 1914, the UMBL experienced
a prosperous period. Afterwards, they worked for the French army, but the coal supply was
difficult to get and the male manpower was mobilized.
The 1920 shipbuilding crisis hit the UMBL strongly. Whereas the maximum manpower was
reached in May 1921 (3 200), this figure dropped to 1 960 in August, to increase again in
1923. The factory never worked at full rate as it lacked raw materials, then manpower.
In 1924, the UMBL were bought by the Forges et Aciéries du Nord Est (FANE). The following
period saw the number of workers fluctuate, the wages decrease, the factory undergo a
renovation in 1930. When it resumed its activity in 1931, the blast furnaces were not lit
up again, and it closed in 1932.
Just before the second world war, the steelmill reopened for strategical purposes. The
Germans then requisitioned it.
In 1943, the allied bombings destroyed most of Trignac and seriously hit the Forges. In
1945, it could have started again, but despite 30 million francs given as war damages, the
FANE chose to invest in the East of France and close Trignac.
After having been cleaned of the non exploded bombs, the Forges were partially destroyed.
Some remaining parts were used by different companies untill 1970.