the important thing
The plumbing museum, set up on the premises of the Orti-Labessouille company in Castres (Tarn), takes shape. As of now, its managers are trying to raise funds to open it to as many people as possible.
The history of Orti, a symbolic plumbing company from Castrese, will not be erased or buried. Since the takeover of Arnaud Labessouille in 2018, this company has continued to develop while preserving the past and the memory of the work of the people who preceded it.
In this approach, Arnaud Labessouille, with the support of his brother Mathieu, created what he called at the time an “exhibition space” in July 2020, in the new premises of Orti-Labessouille, located on the rue d’Albi. But this place grew and today the Labessouille brothers managed to develop a real museum of plumbing.
In addition to items found during the company’s move, they also received a large number of donations of unusual items, especially from former plumbers who worked in the region, but also in Paris. A faucet from Pierre Fabre’s former pharmacy, water shut-off valves that belonged to the Ritz Paris hotel, a coal boiler from Château de Lacaze… “We even have a plank on which the thugs hung more than 30 meters. high, in a vacuum, in the 1960s. It was part of their lifeline for certain artisans… Working conditions have developed a lot and we have proof of that with all that,” Arnaud Labessouille confided to us.
The managers also collected many books on the history of the profession. The oldest dates back to 1810. “We even have books on the history of the De Dietrich brand, which even this company, with whom we have been working since 1949, does not have in its archives,” added Mathieu Labessouille, who handles donation proposals for the museum almost daily. “I got a lot of messages on social media. It goes all over the place, I have to sort it out and take care of it as soon as I have a moment… It could almost be a full time job! “, he confided.
A victim of his own success
As of now, the museum owns more than a hundred items, not counting those that have not yet been listed. “Some companies have even asked us if we could rent out our spaces for organizing meetings or other events within the museum. It’s incredible, we really didn’t expect that when we started this project,” said Arnaud Labessouille, who now wants more than anything to open this place to the general public.
“We set demands at the national level and in the Region. From now on, we have to calculate all this in order to bring the museum up to the safety standards required for this type of place. We have to find funds for that, but we are working on it! We really want everyone to be able to discover this great story about the company and the plumbing profession,” concluded Arnaud Labessouille.