Jean-Marie Roulot has been making scissors for 70 years in the small French town of Nogent. Artisan, collector, man of heart, he is certainly one of the greatest scissor enthusiasts in the world. He will soon close the door of his workshop, here is the testimony of his passion.
<At the time you didn't decide to become a scissor maker, you didn't choose your profession. > Mr. Roulot left school at the age of 14 in the 1950s, the next morning he was working in the scissors and sewing factory where his mother had found him a place. < My boss taught me everything, he was harsh and severe, he never helped me. You had to walk straight and produce. >
On the way he met <a very charming woman> with whom he married, then he had to leave to fight in the Algerian war. When I returned to Nogent I had to find work: < My wife asked her boss to hire me at the high-end scissors factory. > It was a great opportunity to perfect your skills and move up the ranks. < No more raising your hand like in assembly line production, you had to be meticulous and picky. > Mr. Roulot had the mission to make 72 curved scissors, < but I didn't know how to do it, so I broke 36, half of them! > He tells this story, bursting out laughing: < My boss never asked me for curved scissors again, even though today, I no longer break them. >
During all these years, he put aside all the most beautiful scissors that came to hand, he would collect them from people. His collection now numbers nearly 5,000 pieces, most of which are exhibited at the Musée du Ciseau, which he founded. He accumulated old models with the aim of reissuing them all when he retired. <Well, I've been doing this for 20 years>, in his workshop he brings incredible and rare models back to life. He is in love with his job. He says that one day a colleague told him: <I'm not as stupid as you, when I retire I don't want to hear about scissors anymore! >
But Mr. Roulot's life is molten metal, the sound of the sledgehammer, it's grinding, filing, polishing. For a pair of Stork Scissors, it takes a total of 300 actions, < in a scissors, the inside must be done correctly, and the outside must be impeccable. > When it is finished, Jean-Marie listens to the scissors <I hear its blades singing>.
Today there are only 4 scissor manufacturers left in France, < it's sad, soon you will only have Chinese or Pakistani scissors that don't sing >. Mr. Roulot has trained 30 apprentices in his lifetime, and he still hopes that someone will come to continue his story: "Everyone calls me the dreamer here".
In the meantime, they give themselves three years to continue making their fascinating models, sometimes centuries old, sometimes assembled with fish glue, sometimes covered in gold.
Admiration, and applause.