When I walked into Dehillerin Paris and asked for a carrot grater, all I had to do was look at the label to know it was a quality product. Of course, what else would Dehillerin carry? There must also be a Moulinex or other brand, which I would have trusted, but the one Dehillerin stocks is by a company called Guillouard. The reason I like this company so much is that they have been in business for over 100 years, since 1911, and they still make their products the “old fashioned way,” which is principally hot-dipped galvanized (zinc over steel) or tin over steel. These products can be made with other methods, which are closer to electric plating, and will result in a thinner coating, but Guillouard’s factory in Nantes still makes them the old way, by hand, and the products might last forever. Fancy a nice French galvanized tub? This is the manufacturer you want. I love the lines, the handles, and the raised bottom~
You will find these products across France in stores that carry high-quality merchandise. Look for them in garden stores, where you will find the Caddyac of French watering cans. You can find the galva versions like this, with laiton (French brass) spout~
as well as Guillouard’s “paint over steel” beauties which look like enamel in person~
Which do you prefer, bleu marine or the red? A watering can like this would probably motivate me to water more often~
There are some other beautiful colors as well, and different shapes and sizes. Watering cans with very fine spouts, for seeds, large and small watering cans; you can see the range of them HERE. There are five pages of Gardening items on the website; and you will find some great items including zinc garden markers and equally beautiful flower buckets, galva and enamel, like this one…to me, a French flower bucket should only be bleu~
Unfortunately, quality does not come cheap. This beautiful flower bucket is $60 and about 16 inches tall. But I guarantee you it will last forever and still look great. Have a look around their website HERE (click on the British flag top left to convert into English) and you will find all sorts of interesting things. The buckets and tubs come in all sizes, and some are designed for specific uses. Such as this, a bucket for a well. That’s what it’s called! It has the special handle with the loop in it, I suppose to tie your rope onto it~
One of their unique products is this one. Can you guess by looking at it what it might be?~
Let’s look inside….there is a central column that goes from the perforated false-bottom to the top of the bucket, secured with a stabilizing chain on three sides. The number three on top of the column refers to the size. This Numero 3 holds 39 litres, or about 10 gallons. Can you guess yet what it is?~
Here is one more clue…..the diagram of how it works, but it’s in French~
Now you should understand what it is, right? It’s the original 19th century French clothes-washing machine. Before this, you washed your clothes where you could, in a tub I suppose, sometimes with a washboard, and you ruined your hands in the process. For centuries, clothes were often washed in one of the laundry stations along the rivers. I’ll show you ours in Beaune the next time I’m there. But this washing machine was better than a tub, and better than the river as you could wash clothes at home. Put the laundry in, add water and soap, close the lid on and put a heat source below it. The hot water circulates to the top and is distributed out the top of the column through a series of little holes; it’s the same principle as a coffee percolator. You have heard about “boiling your laundry,” this is how they did it. You still have to rinse the laundry, but this was significantly easier than hand-wash, especially if it’s heavily soiled.
This truc-machin was first shown at the 1889 Universal Exposition in Paris. Can you imagine what they thought, seeing it demonstrated? I don’t know at that time if you could send laundry out, I suppose so, or you had servants if you were wealthy. I have been in some large old homes in Beaune, and the top floors often were the place where all the laundry was done. In town, there was no place to hang linge du maison or linge personnel to dry, and if you own any old French sheets you know they can take awhile to dry. So they hung them on indoor clotheslines. If you are lucky you will find an old home that still has the rows of big hooks still on the wall. I have photos of that I’ll show you another time.
Anyway, that was sort of a tangent off the subject of a carrot grater. I hope you will look around the Guillouard site and see their products. The problem is how to get them back home, because I can’t find anyone in the U.S. who stocks this merchandise, surely the currency and shipping and duty are prohibitive versus something made in China. If you do travel to France and are shopping for that friend who has everything, this is a wonderful range of products for a gift. I know, when do you really need a hurricane lamp, but how about this pretty one in red; so French~
I forgot to mention their watering stations and feeders for animals, and their various bird feeders; are these cute~
These are brand new and so have the “flowering” pattern of the galvanization process; that will go away after time and these will have a nice patina. The other great thing about the galva process is that zinc is antibacterial and antifungal. If I had chickens they would be fed and watered by Guillouard products. I think I might have to track down one of these bird feeders next time, or maybe even arrange a factory tour. Photographing vats of molten tin and zinc? Super Fun??! OK, for me at least it would be fun…
By the way, the closest thing that I could find to my Guillouard grater is a plane-grater, see HERE. The Guillouard has tin-coated wheels, and as opposed to the plane grater it can make long pretty ribbons of carrots or beets, that look especially appetizing on a big platter of salad. It will be put to good use this summer.