The Roullet&Decamps firm

Jean Roullet, founder of the Roullet & Decamps company, was born in May 1829.

In 1855, he married Laurence Francoise Midon.

In 1866, he opened a tool factory and a short while later, he entered into partenership with Mr Lamour, setter of profession. Their association lasted only four years, until 1871.

Jean Roullet obtained a bronze medal at the Worldwide exibition in 1867 for these mechanical toys and others built on the same model.

La bergère
Goupe of singer-musicians
toward 1890
Museum of automata, York (England)

During several years, his production would not cease to enriched by the introduction of various models.

In 1879, Henriette Adrienne Roullet, daughter of Jean, married Henri Ernest Decamps, profession mechanic and foreman of the workshop.

Then, the society became increasingly active and prosperous. It was no longer mechanical toys, but true automata, which took a significant place in the factory. Ernest Decamps became officially partner of the firm in 1889.

After that, the society took the name of "Roullet-Decamps". In this time, 50 people were employed in the various workshops: mechanics, clock and watch makers, sculptors, dressmakers...

Shepherd
Roullet&Decamps,
toward 1880
H. 75 cm
Private collection
Âge d'or des automates)

In 1900, the first electric automata appeared.

Jean Roullet, withdrew to his country house and left the direction of the factory to his daughter and his son-in-law who, after his death, in August 13th 1907, will inherit the factory.

Gaston Decamps, son elder of Ernest took an increasingly active part in the family firm. From this time his influence is felt in the quality of the sculpted faces.

The electric automata and the "advertising pieces" took a very significant place in the production of the Decamps society.

In April 13th 1909, Ernest Decamps died at the age of sixty-one years. His widow Henriette was at the head of the establishment, assisted by her children Gaston, Paul and Gilberte.

 

Magicienne
Roullet&Decamps,

toward 1880
H. 80 cm
Private collection
Âge d'or des automates)
JazzBand

Paul died during the First World War. Gaston Decamps found himself alone at the head of the factory.

Man of a great artistic sensitivity, the often quoted sentence: " automaton is an animated sculpture" is attributed to him.

In 1925, Decamps recovered the stock of the Phalibois house. This period between the two world wars saw the development of advertising automata and windows for department stores.

Continuing his search, according to modern tastes and needs, he created sensational works, such as a group of black jazz players in life-size for the window of a store.

Animated scene
Electrics automata
Gaston Decamps, toward 1920
the beater tall: 1m12
the violonist tall: 2m00
the pianist tall: 1m52

Museum of Sauillac (France)
Clown sur la pleine lune

After the death of Gaston Decamps in 1972, the society was taken again by his daughter Cosette and her husband, George Bellancourt.

The Decamps society produced electric automata, electronic or radiocontrolled, according to the most modern techniques.

But, unable to face the competition of asian toys, the society ceased production of mechanical toys to center itself on the production of large electric automata.

1995 saw the cessation of business.

The collection is gathered in two French museums in Falaise (Calvados) and Souillac (Lot).

Mechanical automata with music
Roullet-Decamps
Paris - toward 1895
Height: 0m58

Museum of Sauillac (France)