1862-1865 as a seller of Sewing Machines
1865-1875 as manufacturer
JANUS Societe Anonyme
H. J. Petit as managing director
14, Rue des Croisades
Brussels , Belgium
The H.J. Petit factory was located on the 14, Rue des Croisades ("Crusades Street"), in Saint-Josse (one of the 19 villages which are part of Brussels). It's near the old North Train Station, which was located on the Rogier Place.
From the year 1862, H.J. Petit, was engaged as a seller of sewing machines.
In 1865 he turned his attention to their manufacture. Mr Petit having a thorough knowledge of the construction of the Sewing Machines and a keen inventive faculty, soon placed the business on a firm footing.
In 1870 circa, unfortunately a disastrous fire totally destroyed Mr. Petit’s factory and work was for a time brought to a stand still. Most men would have been deterred by such a calamity as this from attempting to resume business on a large scale, but nothing daunted, Mr. Petit immediately set to work and soon was in possession of premises far more extensive than the old ones, which he furnished with the most improved machinery and tools. An iron foundry adjoining which had not been successful, was soon added to the buildings. The outlay on these commodious premises was fully justified by the increase business continued to grow.
In 1874 the company produced nearly 2,000 machines per month. From these 2,000 machines, only 500 were sold in Belgium. The other 1,500 were exported. The prices ranged from 157-195 Belgian francs per machine, with a 2 year warranty.
In 1875 Mr. Petit, having gone through the brunt of the battle, decided to retire and with that object in view he formed a Company, the Societe Anonyme, holding the position of managing director. The machines made by this firm consist chiefly of sewing machines on Howe’s principle, embroidering machines on Bonnaz’s principle, with a most perfect patented braiding apparatus, knitting machines, weaving machines, elastic machines, sole screwing machines and a small self-inking patented printing machine. For quality and finish in construction these machines certainly occupy the first rank. If prize medals go for anything the Societe Anonyme may boast of a good array:
PARIS 1867 HAVRE 1868 HEAPEL 1870 PARIS 1871 BRUSSELS 1874
At the the Paris 1871 and Brussels 1874 exhibitions, the Societe received a gold medal and diploma of honour, very flattering distinctions.
Also at Utrecht they won the gold medal and at a meeting of exhibitors their machines were rewarded with two silver and one bronze medal for superior execution of work in various branches.
The Hygienic Exhibition held in Brussels in 1876 awarded another prize and what is valued still more by our Belgian friends, their sewing and embroidery machines carried off the highest award at the Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia in 1876.
In 1878 the company exhibited their machines at the third Paris World's Fair, called an Exposition Universelle .
In 1880, the plant located on the 14, Rue des Croisades, was operated by the Janus Societe Anonyme, which produced knitting, embroidering and sewing machine, as well as telephones and equipment and precision tools.
In 1885 the company exhibited the machines at Antwerp Universal Fair. Its managing director was F. Bastin.
From 1891 to 1901, the factory at 14, Rue des Croisades in Brussels, was operated by Martin H. Rumpf, under the name of "Le Progrès Industriel" which manufactured the sewing machine call " La Merveilleuse " as well as auto parts.
Before coming to Brussels, Martin H. Rumpf was living in Paris, where he produced since 1889 the sewing machine " L'Incomparable ", after buying back the patent of Wilhelm von Pitteler.
Martin H. Rumpf also produced three car models (with a small 5hp, an intermediate model 7hp and a big model 14 hp) in 1899, but failed, as these cars were said to be very difficult to drive. Production stopped in 1901.
You can see one of his cars via this links :
After this failure, he specialized his factory in machine tools and in turns. Martin, who was also an inventor, acquired Belgian nationality around 1923-1924. At that time, he lived in Uccle (another one of the 19 villages which are part of Brussels).
After World War II, he moved his factory in Lot (20km south of Brussels) and was made Grand Officer of the Order of Leopold II. The factory on the Crusades Street was sold to an hatmaker, before being demolished in 1970.
extracted and mixed from
The Sewing Machine Gazette
Le Blog de Callisto