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Sugar and Iron: Khedive Ismail's sugar factories in Egypt and the role of French engineering companies (1867-1875)

Ralph Bodenstein

Résumés

Dans les années 1860 et 1870, le Khédive Ismail mit en œuvre un vaste projet agro-industriel qui a permis de poser les bases et l'infrastructure technique d'une industrie moderne du sucre de canne en Moyenne- et Haute-Égypte. L'expertise mondiale et des compagnies étrangères y ont joué un rôle crucial : deux entreprises françaises d'ingénierie mécanique, Cail et Fives-Lille, ont construit à elles seules quatorze usines de sucre, et d'autres usines ont été construites par des entreprises britanniques. Comme la plupart de ces usines ont disparu depuis longtemps, le présent article s'appuie sur des archives d'entreprises françaises ainsi que sur d'autres sources afin de retracer la contribution française au projet d’Ismail de la construction d'usines, de déterminer le nombre et les emplacements de ces usines et de reconstituer les caractéristiques de leur architecture et de leur bâti. Se basant sur ces documents, l'article développe l'hypothèse que le point déterminant et commun de toutes ces usines construites par Cail et Fives-Lille était leur ossature en fer, et qu'elles étaient conçues en tant que projet clé-en-main, combinant l'acheminement et l'installation à la fois du bâtiment et des machines par une seule et même entreprise. Considéré dans un contexte mondialisé, ce système représentait une nouveauté et semble avoir été conçu et expérimenté par les entreprises françaises en Égypte avant d'être employé par ces mêmes entreprises dans d'autres parties du monde, contribuant ainsi de manière plus générale à la construction industrielle.

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Introduction

  • 1 Jean Mazuel, Le sucre en Egypte. Étude de géographie historique et économique, Cairo: Société roy (...)

1The Khedive, being the owner of vast estates comprising almost one fifth of the cultivable area of Egypt, and wishing to increase the cultivation of sugar cane while avoiding the risks that always arise with monoculture, wanted to establish on part of his vast properties a gigantic sugar production encompassing 487,467 feddans, of which 315,548 feddans in Middle and Upper Egypt were more or less suitable for this kind of plantation. Sixteen factories, placed at regular intervals along the Nile from south of Asyut down to the Delta, complemented the agricultural exploitation proper. Set up by the two companies Cail and Fives-Lille in an admirable manner, each cost several million francs; they would become the best support of a rich agriculture. Some, unfortunately, could not function and were abandoned shortly after their inauguration.”1

  • 2 A survey of Egypt's historical industrial architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries was begun by (...)
  • 3 Edmond Théry, L'Égypte nouvelle au point de vue économique et financier, Paris: L'Économiste europé (...)

2The above account, given by Jean Mazuel in his 1937 standard work on sugar cane cultivation and production in Egypt, can be considered as the starting point of this study of the sugar factories of Khedive Ismail (r. 1863-1879). Within the context of a broader survey of the history of industrial architecture in Modern Egypt2, a study of these sugar factories from an architectural- or construction-historical perspective is aimed to fill a number of gaps: First, there is a general lack of research and even basic documentation regarding industrial buildings in Egypt during the second half of the 19th century. This holds particularly for the reign of Khedive Ismail, a period which saw unprecedented efforts and investments in the development of agro-industries, namely cotton and sugar cane, along with the connected processing facilities, buildings, and infrastructure. Indeed, as a case in point, the abovementioned creation of a sugar industry together with the construction of a string of sugar factories that – as one observer put it – “can rival the most beautiful factories known”3, can arguably be considered the biggest integrated agro-industrial project in Egypt's modern history. For its huge scale and the short span of time taken for construction, it might even be unparalleled in a global comparison. It is safe to say that Ismail's rule must have been a formative period for the development of industrial architecture in Egypt, and as will be shown in this study, this particular industrial construction project also seems to have had an influential impact on industrial building on a more global level. But so far, we know too little about these sugar factories, their architecture, and their builders in order to qualify this observation.

  • 4 Active sugar factories in locations identified as sites of Ismail's factories are those of Armant, (...)

3Here, a second gap comes into play: based on our – admittedly still incomplete – field survey, there is also a perceptible lack of surviving buildings from the third quarter of the 19th century that can be documented and serve as material evidence for such an assessment. This is especially true for the sugar industry: with the possible exception of one or two sites, the numerous sugar factories built for Khedive Ismail have long since disappeared.4 Most of the sugar factories operating in Egypt today are in other locations and of a later construction date.

  • 5 Samir Saul, La France et l'Égypte de 1882 à 1914: Intérêts économiques et implications politiques, (...)

4Regarding Egypt’s sugar industry, there are other lacunae: scholarly research on the history of this industry has so far concentrated on aspects of economic history and focused on later periods, namely the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries.5 The formative years under Khedive Ismail have been treated in a rather sketchy manner. The fundamental role of Ismail's agro-industrial endeavour is generally acknowledged, but information about the factories is scant, with inconsistent indications regarding their numbers, locations, and builders, and lacks technical details.

5Because of the involvement mentioned above of Cail and Fives-Lille, two French mechanical engineering companies, in setting up the factories for Khedive Ismail, the builders and technical details of the buildings – referring to architectural form, layout, construction techniques and materials – are of particular interest. Ismail's factories are located at the intersections of local Egyptian, European, and global histories of architecture, construction, and technology, and thus offer themselves as a case study for questions regarding the role of internationally active construction and engineering companies in the transfer of knowhow, the production and diffusion of technological innovation, adaptation to local circumstances, and interaction with other players. It is also significant that this construction project was completed by European contractor firms for a powerful ruler in an extra-European country in a non-colonial context. Given that at the time, sugar cane cultivation and processing were mostly a colonial business on a smaller private-enterprise scale, the setting up of this sugar project was as extraordinary as its ambitious scale, and certainly constituted a novel challenge for the companies involved.

  • 6 The research at the ANMT was conducted during two weeks in November 2012 and was generously funded (...)

6Given the general state of research, the aims of this paper will have to be modest. For a start, it will try to explore the following set of questions: How many sugar factories were actually built for Ismail Pasha's Daira Saniyya project, and where? Who built them? And what did the buildings look like? Was there anything special about the factories that can explain the sense of admiration expressed in some sources? The focus will be on Cail and Fives-Lille, because they – according to Mazuel and other references – are to be credited with the construction and equipment of the factories, and because significant parts of the archives of both companies (later merged into one single enterprise, Fives-Cail Babcock) are now kept at the Archives Nationales du Monde du Travail (hereafter ANMT) in Roubaix, France. Hence, the most promising approach seemed to check these company records for documentation regarding the Egyptian factories.6 This paper, therefore, is also an assessment of the information that can – or cannot – be gleaned from these company archives.

Egypt’s sugar industry before Ismail Pasha

  • 7 Alfred Jacques Chélu, De l'équateur à la Méditerranée. Le Nil, le Soudan, l'Égypte: ouvrage accompa (...)
  • 8 Alfred Jacques Chélu, De l'équateur à la Méditerranée, op. cit. (note 7), p. 226; Antoine Barthélem (...)
  • 9 Jean Mazuel, Le sucre en Egypte. op. cit. (note 1), p 32. Chélu, however, mentions only Cail; see A (...)
  • 10 Jean Mazuel refers to both Cail and Pastré as being of Paris. Regarding Pastré this might be an err (...)
  • 11 Jean-François Cail was trained as a boilermaker and entered Derosne's workshop in Paris in 1824, wh (...)
  • 12 As a direct result of the advanced machinery and processing systems (like the “système Derosne-Cail (...)
  • 13 E. Guigon bey: “Monnier (Jean-Baptiste),” Société des anciens élèves des écoles nationales d'arts e (...)

7With a long history beginning in the 7th century CE, sugar-cane cultivation and cane sugar production in Egypt saw a revival and thorough transformation during the 19th century. Egypt's ambitious Ottoman governor Muhammad ʿAli Pasha (r. 1805-1848) began to expand cane cultivation in the Nile Valley and introduce modern processing facilities. Alfred Chélu, writing at the end of the 19th century, describes the simplicity of the technical equipment in the pre-modern sugar mills, which was not competitive when compared to the mechanised and technologised production methods that were rapidly developing in the tropical sugar-cane colonies in the wake of the industrial revolution: “Until hardly thirty years ago [i.e. the mid-19th century], the Egyptians only had assâras, old mills composed of two wooden cylinders moved by oxen, painstakingly crushing the cane and leaving 40-50 percent of the sweet juice in the stems. The sugar – if this is how you can call the blackish matter that was only consumed by the natives – was boiled in the open air in cauldrons over an open fire.”7 Chélu and other sources concur that the first sugar factories “really worthy of this name” were introduced during the rule of Muhammad ʿAli Pasha in the first half of the 19th century. A first factory was established by Muhammad ʿAli in 1818 at Rayramun in the vicinity of Mallawi in Middle Egypt. It was reportedly modelled on those of the Antilles, and managed by an Englishman. Two more factories were created around 1830 by Muhammad ʿAli's enterprising son Ibrahim Pasha, located at Saqiyat Musa and al-Rawda, again in the vicinity of Mallawi. Four additional factories were built for Muhammad ʿAli in the mid-1840s: two in Middle Egypt at “Nemris” (probably Damaris) and al-Minya, and two in Upper Egypt at Armant and Farshut.8 So far, we have no information about the architecture and constructional features of these factories. The equipment, however, for the four last-mentioned factories was reportedly supplied by two French companies, Cail and Pastré.9 The identity and rôle of Pastré is unclear.10 For Cail, this would be the company's earliest identified involvement in Egypt, two decades before their involvement in Khedive Ismail's Daira Saniyya project. The “Société Derosne et Cail”, as the company was called then, had originally been founded in 1812 by the pharmacist, inventor and industrialist Charles Derosne (1780-1846) as a company specialised in distillery apparatus. In 1836, it was re-incorporated as a partnership with the boilermaker and mechanical engineer Jean-François Cail (1804-1871) before eventually becoming the “Société J.F. Cail et Cie.” in 1850.11 With J.-F. Cail's technical skills and entrepreneurial abilities, the company Derosne et Cail quickly became one of the foremost manufacturers of distillery and sugar machinery, combining the development of novel chemical procedures with their mechanical implementation, and providing the most advanced equipment for beetroot sugar factories throughout Europe and cane-sugar factories in the colonial islands of the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, and Java. In the early to mid-1840s, while expanding into the construction of locomotives and railroad material, the company also developed, promoted, and built the first “usines centrales” for cane sugar, i.e. central factories with advanced machinery that processed the harvest of several plantations and would, in the long run, replace the small old-style sugar mills and purging houses run individually by colonial planters.12 Cail's supply of apparatus for Muhammad ʿAli's sugar factories during the 1840s falls exactly into this crucial period. Moreover, the person hired by Muhammad ʿAli to set up the factory at Farshut in 1845, and two more in al-Minya and “Charoueh” (possibly meaning Sharuna) in 1847, was a French engineer who had just returned from Guadeloupe where he had installed sugar factories as an employee of Derosne et Cail. This engineer, Jean-Baptiste Monnier (1813-1892), remained in Egypt in the service Muhammad ʿAli's successors. Under Khedive Ismail, he became the chief engineer of the Daira Saniyya and as such was responsible for the establishment of the numerous sugar factories built under Ismail until his retirement in 1872.13

  • 14 This was true for most of the industries established or expanded under Muhammad ʿAli; see e.g. Ghis (...)
  • 15 Ghislaine Alleaume, “An Industrial Revolution in Agriculture? Some Observations on the Evolution of (...)
  • 16 On the early introduction of steam power and newest industrial machinery in colonial sugar factorie (...)

8From its beginnings in the first half of the 19th century, the development of modern sugar manufacturing in Egypt was characterised by an active effort to introduce state-of-the-art technology with the help of specialists, knowhow, and material from abroad – be it from Europe or from European colonies elsewhere in the world.14 Locally, the development of the sugar industry was part of an ongoing process of mechanisation of agriculture in Egypt under Muhammad ʿAli that included irrigation, canal works, and the processing of agricultural products, and entailed the import of steam pumps, steam engines, and processing machinery.15 In a more global perspective, the developments in Egypt's sugar industry must be seen against the background of parallel processes of industrialisation and centralisation of cane-sugar production in the Americas, the Indian Ocean and South-East Asia in the 19th century.16 From an early stage, then, Egypt's burgeoning modern sugar industry tapped into, and became an integral part of, global networks of knowledge production and technology transfer, which could later serve Khedive Ismail as a basis for the realisation of his large-scale sugar project. Equally from early on, the modernisation, i.e. mechanisation and industrialisation, of sugar production in Egypt lay in the hands of the ruler and his family, as the only individuals having the financial resources to afford the required knowhow and costly material.

Khedive Ismail’s cane-sugar project

  • 17 The data concerning the cultivated areas should not be taken at face value; other authors give diff (...)

9Khedive Ismail’s scheme to develop the cultivation and processing of sugar cane in Egypt can be briefly outlined as follows: The end of the American Civil War in 1865 spelled the end of the cotton boom for Egypt. In order to diversify the country's cotton-based cash crop economy and to develop alternative sources of income, Ismail Pasha decided to devote vast tracts of agricultural land he owned personally in Middle and Upper Egypt to the cultivation of sugar cane. This respective land, administered by the Daira Saniyya (the central administration of the khedivial properties and estates), covered an impressive area of 315,548 feddan (132,556.35 hectares) according to Mazuel.17 As sugar cane requires crushing and processing within hours of the harvest, it was recommended to have processing facilities available in the vicinity of the fields. One essential component of the project, therefore, was the construction of a sufficient number of sugar factories for cane crushing, raw-sugar production, and refinement in the vicinity of the respective Daira Saniyya lands along the Nile between Biba and Armant, and further west in the Fayyum Oasis (fig. 1). The factories were built between 1867 and 1875; their number, varying between 15 and 22 depending on the source, will be discussed below.

Figure 1: Map of the Nile Valley between Cairo and Asyut indicating locations of sugar factories built for Khedive Ismail, 1867-75.

Figure 1: Map of the Nile Valley between Cairo and Asyut indicating locations of sugar factories built for Khedive Ismail, 1867-75.

Source: Ralph Bodenstein, DAI Cairo; base map: “Map of Upper Egypt Showing Principal Irrigation Works,” from William Willcocks, Egyptian Irrigation (2nd ed.), London: E. & F.N. Spon; New York: Spon & Chamberlain, 1899.

  • 18 In the Nile Delta, perennial irrigation had already been introduced under Muhammad ʿAli in the firs (...)

10Simultaneously, between 1867 and 1873, the Ibrahimiyya Canal was dug: an irrigation canal running 256 kilometres along the western bank of the Nile, starting at Asyut in Middle Egypt and ending at Ashmant south of Cairo. The canal was complemented by networks of smaller canals for the irrigation of the fields. This was the first time that a system of perennial irrigation was introduced into the regions upstream of Cairo, where, until then, the ancient and well-tried system of basin irrigation had still been in use.18 Along the western boundary of this new perennial irrigation area, an earth mound or dam (referred to in Arabic as al-ǧidār or al-muḥīṭ) was built over a distance of 250 kilometres in order to separate the new system from remaining basin-irrigated areas along its western flank, and to shield the fields from desert sands.

  • 19 The new railway line to Upper Egypt was in discussion as early as 1863 – i.e. some years before Ism (...)
  • 20 According to the obituaries of James Wilson a.k.a. Wilson Pasha (1831-1906), chief engineer for Ism (...)

11Besides irrigation, transport facilities were vital for Ismail’s sugar project. With the main purpose of serving the sugar factories, a railway line was built from Cairo (more exactly, Bulaq al-Dakrur on the Giza side of the Nile) southward along the Nile to Asyut, running for the most part on the eastern bank of the Ibrahimiyya Canal, and complemented by a westbound branch-line into the Fayyum, branching off at Wasita. As a result, Egypt's railway network was extended into the regions south of Cairo for the first time; so far, since the construction of the first railway line from Alexandria to Cairo in 1854-1856, railway construction had focussed on the Delta regions.19 To complete the transport infrastructure, an extensive network of agricultural light railway including wagons and steam engines was set up, in order to transport the cane directly from the fields to the nearby factories (fig. 2). Eventually, by 1878, the Daira Saniyya was described as having about 340,000 acres of land, 15 sugar factories, 250 kilometres of railway, 50 locomotives and 1,500 wagons.20

Figure 2: Map “Province de Minieh”, 1891.

Figure 2: Map “Province de Minieh”, 1891.

The map shows a section of al-Minya province with the factory sites of Matay, Bani Mazar, Maghagha, and Aba al-Waqf, the irrigation area of the Ibrahimiyya Canal, secondary canals (in blue) and the agricultural railway network (in red).

Source: Alfred J. Chélu, De l’équateur à la Méditerranée : le Nil, le Soudan, l'Egypte, Paris: Chaix 1891, pl. 57.

12The huge scale of Ismail’s sugar project meant that, within eight years between 1867 and 1875, vast parts of the Nile valley in Middle and Upper Egypt, and parts of the Fayyum, began to be transformed into an agro-industrial landscape, that was conceived (albeit not always successfully realised) as an interconnected system of irrigation, crop cultivation, transport and processing, was centrally managed as the ruler's private estate, and equipped with the newest technical infrastructure available at the time.

Bringing in the players: Why Cail and Fives-Lille?

  • 21 Heinrich Stephan, Das heutige Aegypten. Ein Abriss seiner physischen, politischen, wirthschaftliche (...)
  • 22 Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. cit. (note 11), p. 83. Thomas relies heavily on company (...)
  • 23 Archives nationales du monde du travail, Roubaix (France) hereafter ANMT 1994 001 333, “Récompenses (...)
  • 24 The company was initially established in 1854 as “Société Parent et Schaken” in Oullins (Rhône, Fra (...)
  • 25 ANMT 198 AQ 8, “Procès-verbaux du Conseil d'administration Fives-Lille, années 1865-1869: 1867”, p. (...)
  • 26 Inventory ANMT 1994 001, Fives-Lille, S.F.C.M Cail, Fives-Lille Cail, Fives-Cail Babcock, p. 3, “Hi (...)

13As has already been pointed out, Ismail’s project did not start ex nihilo. In addition to the earlier factories from Muhammad ʿAli's days mentioned above, Ismail himself had gained personal experience in the sugar industry through his inherited estate at al-Rawda, where he had the existing factory fully modernised and retooled in 1862-63. Reportedly, the whole installation was set up by Englishmen, using machinery and equipment purchased from England and France – namely Cail in Paris.21 A decisive moment for Ismail's bigger scheme came with the Exposition Universelle of 1867 in Paris, where both Khedive Ismail and the French industrialist Jean-François Cail, were invited to a state dinner hosted by the French Emperor Napoléon III and were seated at the same table. As the story goes, they talked business, and at the end of the dinner, Cail had obtained the commission for a number of sugar factories for the Khedive.22 Ismail's decision to entrust Cail with this commission seems hardly surprising, given that the company had long-standing business relations with the Egyptian ruler family, and that a former employee worked as chief engineer for the Daira Saniyya. Cail had also just been awarded two gold medals at the 1867 Exposition in Paris: one for its railroad engines, and one for its sugar machinery.23 As a supplier of sugar-factory equipment – both for cane and beetroot – Cail was at the height of its international fame. As to the second French company mentioned in the context of Ismail's sugar factories, Fives-Lille, it is possible (but not clear from the available sources) that it was Cail who took it on board for the job. The company, established as Parent, Schaken, Caillet et Cie in 1861, and specialised in the construction of locomotives, railroad material, bridges and metal structures, took the name Compagnie de Fives-Lille pour constructions mécaniques et entreprises in 1865, with workshops in Fives (Nord) and Givors (Rhône).24 From 1861 to 1870, the company collaborated with the Société J.-F. Cail et Cie in the context of a partnership or “participation agreement” (convention de participation), forming a co-enterprise named "participation Cail, Parent, Schaken, Houel, Caillet, à Paris et Fives-Lille". By 1867, they had already worked jointly on several major projects for building bridges, railway lines, railway material, and iron constructions in France, Italy, Spain and Russia. For the Paris World Fair of 1867, they had supplied and built large parts of the metal roof construction of Frédéric Le Play's and Jean-Baptist Krantz' spectacular Palais de l'Exposition. Fives-Lille also already had business connections with Egypt: earlier in 1867, Fives had obtained the contract for building the first road bridge across the Nile in Cairo, the Pont de Gezirah (later known as Qasr al-Nil bridge), erected in 1867-1869 as part of Khedive Ismail's urban transformation schemes for Cairo in preparation for the festivities of the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869.25 Both companies, therefore, had much in common: Both specialised in metal construction, railroad material, engine- and machinery-making; Cail's particular specialisation in sugar- and distillery-machinery was taken over by Fives-Lille after the scheduled end of the participation agreement in 1870; afterwards, the companies continued to follow parallel trajectories, collaborated repeatedly, and eventually merged in 1958 to become Fives-Lille Cail.26 This merger is the reason why company archive material of both historical firms, Cail and Fives-Lille, are held in the ANMT in the same archival groups. The early collaboration of the two firms in the context of a participation agreement, and Fives-Lille's expansion into Cail's own fields of expertise regarding sugar- and distillery-machinery after the end of this contract in 1870 provide at least a partial answer to the question of why both firms were involved in Ismail's sugar scheme.

How many factories? Where?

  • 27 Jean Mazuel, Le sucre en Egypte. op. cit. (note 1), p. 35 [author's translation]
  • 28 Edmond Théry, L'Égypte nouvelle au point de vue économique et financier, op. cit. (note 3), p. 53, (...)
  • 29 François Charles-Roux, “Le capital français en Égypte”, L'Égypte contemporaine, v. 2, n° 8, Novembe (...)
  • 30 ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Rafiʿi, ʿAsr Ismaʿil, vol. 2, Cairo: Maktaba al-Usra 2001 [originally published: (...)
  • 31 Nawal Qasim, Tatawwur al-sinaʿa al-misriyya mundhu ʿahd Muhammad ʿAli hatta ʿahd ʿAbd al-Nasir, Cai (...)
  • 32 Samir Saul, La France et l'Égypte de 1882 à 1914, op. cit. (note 32), p. 382. According to Saul, th (...)
  • 33 Huda Sayyid Amin Hasan, al-Sijjilat wa-l-wathaʾiq al-ʿarabiyya bi-l-daʾira al-saniyya fi l-fitra mi (...)

14Sixteen factories, arranged along the Nile from south of Assiut to the Delta...”, these are the numbers of the new sugar factories built by Cail and Fives-Lille according to Mazuel.27 Sadly, he does not specify their locations, and when compared to other published references, even his numbers become questionable. Edmond Théry, who is one of Mazuel's referenced sources, mentions only nine factories: two south of Asyut, and seven further north. Further on in his same book, however, Théry speaks of ten factories: in discussing Ismail's Daira Saniyya factories, he specifies that each had a distillery attached to produce alcohol from the molasses, and that, except for three (sic!) that were located south of Asyut, they were all built along the Upper-Egyptian railway line that was built for their purpose. Again further on, Théry again refers to nine factories, but here he is actually discussing the time of his writing in the first decade of the 20th century, when the Société générale des sucreries et de la raffinerie d'Égypte took over what was left of the Daira Saniyya factories.28 In this context, he also gives locations: South of Asyut he identifies al-Mataʿna, Armant, and al-Dabʿiyya, and north of Asyut along the Ibrahimiyya Canal he names al-Rawda, Abu Qurqas, al-Minya, Matay, Maghagha and Biba. These are at least some of the locations of earlier Daira Saniyya sugar factories, but as all are located along the Nile, and none in the Fayyum, Théry's list must be incomplete. The French diplomat and historian François Charles-Roux provides a more extensive list of locations by saying that “Cail provided almost all the necessary material for the sugar factories of Rodah, Bibeh, Fachn, Abal-Wakf, Mataï, Minieh, Abou-Kourkas, Cheick Fadl, Béni Mazar, Maghagha, Dabayeh, Ermant, Matana, Senourès and Abouxa.”29 This list includes all of Théry's locations, plus four more along the Nile (al-Fashn, Aba al-Waqf, al-Shaykh Fadl, and Bani Mazar), and two locations in the Fayyum (Sinnuris and Abu Ksah). This makes fifteen factories and seems to give a more complete list of Ismail's Daira Saniyya factories. But it is still less than Mazuel's sixteen. And other authors count even more: The prominent Egyptian historian Abd al-Rahman Rafi'i – who usually had an excellent command of primary sources – counted 17 factories built for Ismail.30 Another Egyptian historian specialised in industrial history, Nawal Qasim, speaks of 22 factories.31 More recently, the historian Samir Saul equally speaks of 17 factories built during Ismail's rule, of which only 11 remained in operation by 1879, the remainder having been shut down due to being unprofitable.32 The early shut-down of factories is one reason why the interrelated questions of the numbers and locations of Ismail's sugar factories remain difficult to solve. One other reason for confusion is that some counts, like Charles-Roux's above-quoted list, include sugar factories already built in the 1840s, reportedly with the participation of Cail. A recent list of locations based on the archives of the Daira Saniyya comes up with 18 factories (not counting two or three more that were planned, but not built) and coincides largely with my own preliminary evaluation of sources, as represented in the overview map (fig. 1).33

Tracing the “Egyptian job” in the company archives

  • 34 ANMT 1991 005 0269 through 1991 005 0280; these units comprise the plans of bundle (“liasse”) 5511 (...)
  • 35 For Egypt, the collection contains drawings for details, additions and machinery for the sugar refi (...)

15To tell the truth straight away: Among the accessible and catalogued parts of the extensive archive holdings of Cail and Fives-Lille presently kept at the ANMT in Roubaix, no project files, technical drawings, construction documents, correspondences, or other contemporary primary documentation regarding the factories built for Ismail's Daira Saniyya could so far be found. Further inquiries as to the possible whereabouts of such documentation have not yet yielded any results. There are approximately two thousand technical drawings under the general header “sucreries” (sugar factories) in Fives-Cail-Babcock's “archives techniques” (technical archives) that were examined for this research. But they are from Fives-Lille only, and date only from 1920 onwards.34 They give evidence of the company's continued activities in sugar-factory building and equipment in Egypt as well as many other countries around the world (which would be a worthy subject of its own), but there are no drawings dating from the 19th century, and none belonging to Cail. Also, the drawings for Egyptian sugar factories in this collection do not allow for conclusions about those built for the Daira Saniyya, because they pertain to factories, or parts of factories, of a later date of construction.35 One observation, however, can be retained at this point: the drawings show that in many of those cases represented for the period after 1920, Fives-Lille provided a complete product that included not only the setting-up of the machinery delivered, but also the required metal platforms and substructures, or even complete buildings in metal-framework construction.

16Of the other archival holdings of Fives-Cail-Babcock at the ANMT checked, only two sources were found to be of immediate relevance for the purpose of this research: One source are short textual references to the factories built by Cail in Egypt, and the other is a photograph showing a sugar factory built by Fives-Lille at Maʿsarat Samalut in Egypt in 1871-72.

  • 36 These are part of units ANMT 1994 001 332 and 1994 001 333, the first containing material from the (...)

17The textual references are made in what we could call promotional material of both companies, Cail and Fives-Lille, i.e. brochures, booklets, journal articles, and similar material produced on the occasion of world exhibitions, industrial exhibitions and company anniversaries.36 The references to the factories in Egypt are neither extensive nor detailed, but still they indicate that these construction jobs in Egypt were assigned some importance, also in relation to the company's activities elsewhere in the world. In a catalogue for the Universal Exhibition of 1878 in Paris, which took place only a few years after the construction of the Daira Saniyya factories, Cail's worldwide construction activities in sugar factories are advertised as follows:

  • 37 ANMT 1994 001 332, “Exposition 1878, Notices sur les Objets,” p. 8 (author's translation). The fact (...)

18Abroad and in the French colonies, mentioning only those large factories that were completely built by the établissements Cail, we count in Egypt 13 factories that together could produce more than 100,000,000 kilogramme of sugar per year; in Havana, 50 factories that produced 70,000,000 kilogramme of sugar; and in the French colonies and various other countries, 25 factories with a total annual production of c. 60,000,000 kilogramme of sugar. Among the latter, the factory of Darboussier, at Pointe-à-Pître [in Guadeloupe; note from the author], built in 1868, processes every day one million kilogrammes of cane and is the largest creation of the Antilles. Of the thirteen Egyptian factories, seven were assembled by the Société J.-F. Cail et Cie [est. 1850] and six by the present company Cail et Cie [est. May 1871]; the last ones are equipped with four mills each and can crush 1,500,000 [kg] in 24 hours.“37

19Hence, Cail claimed to have “completely built” thirteen factories: seven before the company's re-incorporation in May 1871, and six afterwards, with increased processing capacity. Both the production capacity and the numbers of factories built for a single client, stand out in comparison to the other countries mentioned. This overall number, thirteen, is corroborated by similar documents produced for other occasions during the late 19th century, yet always without specifying the locations. In any case, since by the time of the Paris exhibition in 1878 Ismail's Daira Saniyya project had been terminated, this count can be taken as final. This leaves us with the question about possible other factories and the role of Fives-Lille.

  • 38 ANMT 1994 001 303, plate 81.
  • 39 There are various lists of works completed by Fives-Lille in company booklets for world exhibitions (...)

20The second document mentioned above, a photograph of a sugar factory built by Fives-Lille in Egypt, is part of an album produced by Fives-Lille's own photographic service on the occasion of the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889 (fig. 3). The album contains 76 black-and-white photographs with captions presenting a selection of the work of the “Service des Ponts, Charpentes et Constructions diverses” (the company's department for bridges, frame structures and various constructions) for the period 1859-1889.38 The photograph of the Egyptian sugar factory is identified by the caption: “Bâtiments en fer de la sucrerie de Massarah-el-Samalouth (Daïra de S. A. I. le Khédive) 1871-1872”. Evidently, this is a factory built for Ismail's Daira Saniyya, and in this case, it is Fives-Lille that claims to have built it, without mentioning any participation by Cail. The claim is corroborated by lists of metal works completed worldwide by Fives-Lille which were compiled in company booklets produced for various World Fairs.39 Here, too, Fives-Lille mentions only the factory of Massarah-el-Samalouth (Maʿsarat Samalut) for the period under study, with the additional information that the machinery and equipment of that factory was equally provided by the company, adding that the factory could process 1,800,000 kg of cane per 24 hours – a capacity even higher than that of Cail's factories built during the second phase of the project. No other Daira Saniyya factory is mentioned in these lists, either for buildings built or for machinery delivered. Thus, the scant documents available in the company archives of Cail and Fives-Lille allow an initial conclusion: Both companies did indeed build and equip sugar factories for the Daira Saniyya project of Khedive Ismail, but unlike other earlier projects which both companies had completed together as part of their mutual participation agreement, in this case they worked separately. Cail provided thirteen factories, and Fives-Lille one. This still does not match with Mazuel's count of sixteen factories built by Cail and Fives-Lille, let alone higher counts by other authors. Neither does it match with Charles-Roux's list of fifteen factories reportedly built by Cail. And since the available archival documents regarding Cail in the ANMT do not identify the locations of the thirteen factories claimed by Cail, the company archives do not (yet) help us solve these contradictions.

Figure 3: Sugar factory at Maʿsarat Samalut, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1871-2.

Figure 3: Sugar factory at Maʿsarat Samalut, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1871-2.

Source : Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.

  • 40 John Carlile McCoan, Egypt as it is, New York: Henry Holt and Company 1877, p. 147‒9.

21There is one contemporary observer of the Daira Saniyya project, however, who provides some crucial leads in this question. James C. McCoan, in his 1876 book Egypt as it is, provides a brief description of Ismail's Daira Saniyya estates and sugar factories. He counts nineteen factories: Armant, al-Dabʿiyya, al-Mataʿna, al-Rawda, Abu Qurqas, Biba, al-Fashn, Maghagha, Aba al-Waqf, Bani Mazar, Matay, Maʿsarat Samalut, al-Minya, Farshut, Damaris, Salaqus, and two in the Fayyum: Abu Ksah and Maʿsarat Duda. In addition, he mentions two more factories and a treacle factory for which the machinery was delivered to the site, but which had not been erected.40 He goes on to explain that

  • 41 Ibid., p. 148.

Of these nineteen establishments only those at Farshout, Erment, Dameris, and Rhoda were in existence before the accession of the present Viceroy, whose enterprise is therefore to be credited with the remaining fifteen. Of the whole, fourteen were put up by French and the remainder by English engineers, who also supplied the machinery for those not yet built.”41

22McCoan’s count of fourteen factories “put up by the French” matches what Cail and Fives-Lille claim to have built (at least on the face of it, because we cannot be sure whether Cail's own count includes those built before the ascension of Ismail to the throne). Equally important, however, is McCoan's mentioning of English engineers having played a part in the Khedive's sugar factory project – something that most francophone authors fail to mention. In a footnote he specifies the English engineers involved as being chiefly “Messrs. Easton and Anderson, of Erith”. Indeed, other references concur that Easton and Anderson, an iron foundry, engine builder and metal engineering company with works in Erith (Kent), was involved in the construction of three large sugar factories in Egypt. William Anderson (1835-1898), the head of the company, went to Egypt in 1871 to supervise the works.42 Upon his return to England in 1872, Anderson gave a lecture and published an article about his work in Egypt. His article “On the Aba-el-Wakf Sugar Factory, Upper Egypt” specifies that his company erected the factories at Aba al-Waqf and at Bani Mazar, providing first-hand technical commentary on these factories, their machinery and production processes, and adding technical drawings including plan and section drawings of the Aba al-Waqf factory (figs. 4 and 5).43 So far, Anderson's account is the most detailed document found for any of the factories of the Daira Saniyya project. And while his text is mostly concerned with the improvement of machinery and production procedures (the actual point of competition in the highly technologised sugar industry), his published construction drawings, together with Fives-Lille's photograph of the Maʿsarat Samalut factory, provide the earliest available and so far only visual documentation of Ismail's factories. Based on them, we can attempt to explore the architectural and structural design of these buildings.

Figure 4: Sugar factory at Aba al-Waqf, Egypt, erected by Easton and Anderson 1871-2.

Figure 4: Sugar factory at Aba al-Waqf, Egypt, erected by Easton and Anderson 1871-2.

Source: From William Anderson, “On the Aba-el-Wakf Sugar Factory, Upper Egypt,” in Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. 35, session 1872-3, part I, p. 37-109.

Figure 5: Sugar factory at Aba al-Waqf, Egypt, erected by Easton and Anderson 1871-2, contemporary published section drawings.

Figure 5: Sugar factory at Aba al-Waqf, Egypt, erected by Easton and Anderson 1871-2, contemporary published section drawings.

Source: From William Anderson, “On the Aba-el-Wakf Sugar Factory, Upper Egypt”, in Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. 35, session 1872-1873, part I, p. 37-109.

The architecture of Ismail’s sugar factories

  • 44 See J.H. Galloway, The Sugar Cane Industry, p. 134‒8; Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. ci (...)

23By the 1860s, the revolutionary changes in sugar manufacturing procedures and machinery of the previous decades had already produced a factory type and layout very different from traditional cane mills, boiling and curing houses. The installations were now composed of a tightly integrated sequence of mostly steam-driven machines and apparatuses that were – because of their dependence on steam heat or moving power and because of the direct transmission of the cane juice and syrup – arranged in a single building complex: from horizontal three-roller cane crushing mills, the cane juice would flow into a raw-juice tank, followed by a set of steam clarifiers operating with lime or clay, a set of bag filters and/or animal charcoal filters, followed by a set of multiple-effect vacuum evaporators or concentrators (the famous “appareil à triple effet”) and a battery of vacuum pans that boiled the juice into syrup, then followed by a set of crystallisers (also referred to as coolers) and finally the centrifugals (called “turbines” in French) to separate the crystallised sugar from remaining molasses.44

  • 45 See “Disposition générale d'une sucrerie de canne, installée à Nossi-Bé, sur la côte de Madagascar, (...)
  • 46 Christian Schnakenbourg, La Compagnie sucrière de La Pointe-à-Pitre, op. cit. (note 37), p. 30. Sch (...)

24This sequence allowed for variations in the actual spatial setup and layout of the buildings. But there was a tendency to separate the cane milling from the juice processing, meaning that the cane-crushing mill(s) would be located in an annex with easy outside access to feed the mills with fresh cane and remove the pressed cane (bagasse). The steam engines of the mills required an adjacent space for the boilers (which, with improving technology, could be efficiently fired with bagasse). The apparatus for the juice processing would often be set up within one single space constituting the main building, with elevated platforms for some apparatus to facilitate the use of gravity for the processing and transport of the liquids. Obviously, the overall layout of the building and arrangement of the machinery had to be arranged in a way that secured the supply with moving power (via shafts and belts) and steam (via pipes) from the mill's steam engine and boiler. In larger factories, additional boilers, engines, and vacuum pumps could be required for the apparatus in the main building. Warehouses and storerooms for material, crystallised sugar, and molasses could either be located inside or outside the main building, in annexes or outhouses. Wagons on rails could serve to transport crystallised sugar between crystallisers, centrifugals and warehouse inside and outside the building. Repair workshops, which needed moving power from one of the steam engines, would be located within, or annexed to, the main building. Around the building, one could expect to find storage basins or tanks for the molasses (which could be processed further in a distillery), drying yards for the bagasse to be used as fuel, and possibly a lime kiln. For a cane-sugar factory building, a general layout with a large main hall for the apparatus, an annex in the rear for the mill and boiler, and laterally attached spaces for storage, repair workshops, and other requirements, was fully formulated by the 1860s – as illustrated by a published set of drawings for a colonial cane sugar factory built by a French company in Madagascar in 1863 (fig. 6).45 The building material and techniques used for such state-of-the-art colonial factories were obviously dependent on the circumstances: by the 1860s, a building could feature a combination of masonry bearing walls with iron-truss roof as shown in the example from Madagascar. Elsewhere, timber was probably still widely in use instead of iron; in Guadeloupe, up to the 1860s, buildings would be complete timber constructions. Here, the already mentioned factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, established in partnership with J. F. Cail in 1868-1869, was reportedly the first to be built “en fer avec entourage de briques,” in order to resist fire and earthquake.46 It appears that the 1860s marked the beginning of a transition to the increased use of iron for structural purposes in the construction of colonial sugar factories. This background has to be kept in mind when looking at the factories built for Khedive Ismail.

Figure 6: Layout of a cane-sugar factory in Madagascar, plan and section drawing as published in 1863.

Figure 6: Layout of a cane-sugar factory in Madagascar, plan and section drawing as published in 1863.

“Disposition générale d’une sucrerie de cannes par MM. Brissoneau frères”.

Source: From Jacques-Eugène Armengaud (ainé): Publication industrielle des machines, outils et appareils les plus perfectionnés et les plus récents employés dans les différentes branches de l'industrie française et etrangère, vol. 14 (plates), Paris 1863, pl. 31; http://gallica.bnf.fr/​ark:/12148/​cb32845701b/​date

  • 47 Short descriptions of sugar factories that also mention the surrounding buildings (administrative, (...)
  • 48 A short description dating from 1864 is quoted by Colette Dubois, “Miel et sucre en Afrique Orienta (...)

25The photograph of the factory at Maʿsarat Samalut, erected by Fives-Lille, offers a frontal view of the factory buildings proper.47 What we see is a three-aisle structure with a U-shaped plan, composed of a central, rectangular main block with a gently sloped gable roof, flanked by lower and narrower side aisles equally with gable roofs. The side aisles protrude symmetrically and enclose a forecourt closed off with a metal fence at the front. Along the exterior wall of the left aisle, low walls form a series of small rectangular enclosures or basins. At the far end on the left, attached to these enclosures, there is a taller windowless building with a barrel roof. The exterior walls of the main building are pierced with large and closely spaced segmental-arch windows. The three gable walls each have a central gate; the upper triangular sections of the gables, instead of being walled up, are completely or partly screened with glass. On the roof ridge of the central aisle we see a roof lantern and, behind it, a long row of vertical metal tubes reminiscent of the smoke stacks of a steamship. They obviously served as flues for the apparatus in the main aisle, which is identified as “Salle des Appareils” in one of the captions of the photograph. The three-aisle layout of this factory, therefore, seems to follow the general layout pattern of modern colonial sugar factories described above. The particular plan typology seen here, with protruding side aisles creating a forecourt closed off by a fence, also seems to have had a local precursor in Ismail's new factory at al-Rawda built in 1862-63.48 The internal distribution of the remaining functions cannot be identified with any certainty. The closed windows of the right side aisle suggest its use as warehouse; some additional vertical metal tubes appearing behind the roof might indicate the location of the boiler house and cane mills in the rear of the building. The enclosures and structures on the left side might be connected to the preparation and storage of lime and animal charcoal.

26As regards the construction features, the exterior of the buildings is relatively plain and characterised by a regular grid of vertical and horizontal lines. A closer look reveals that these lines are visible metal columns and beams. Underneath the glass screens of the gable walls and running around the buildings at the level of the eaves, we can also discern open lattice girders, which certainly helped the ventilation of the building, but were mainly structural in purpose. We are evidently dealing with a metal skeleton-framework structure, with infills of brick masonry. Accordingly, the main caption describes the buildings as the “bâtiments en fer,” the “iron buildings” of the sugar factory. Additional captions also specify the quantities of metal used for the buildings, explicitly for the “metal skeleton” (“ossature métallique”) and the roofing with “galvanised corrugated sheet,” and identify the buildings as “travaux de charpentes,” i.e. the framework constructions, made by Fives-Lille's department for bridges, frameworks and diverse constructions. Now, if Fives-Lille's factory at Maʿsarat Samalut was a metal-skeleton structure, what about those built by Cail?

27Incidentally, a feature on “Les anciennes établissements Cail,” an extract from a book about French industries dating from 1893 that is kept among Cail's company archives at the ANMT, provides an answer to this question. The chapter “Ponts et charpentes métalliques,” describing Cail's achievements in this field, begins:

  • 49 Cf. ANMT 1994 001 333, Anciens Établissements Cail. Société anonyme...Extrait des Grandes Industrie (...)

The construction of metal bridges and frameworks plays an important part among the various projects carried out by the Société Cail since its beginnings. In fact, we can go back to the period of the construction of the first sugar factories in France as well as in the Colonies and abroad, to find the use of metal frameworks and iron floor constructions to house the machinery. The foremost and most important installations are those in Egypt on the account of the Viceroy, where five factories were established in 1870, all featuring a complete skeleton in iron framework, with roofing in corrugated iron sheets. Numerous factories have subsequently been established in the same way in Martinique, Guadeloupe, Réunion, Mexico, deep in the heart of America in Tucuman, in Spain, etc. In France, the most important existing factories, like Cambrai, Meaux, Châteauroux (the latter built recently) are all built with metal skeletons which constitute the bearing structure of the buildings, the masonry being nothing but a simple infill (“clôture“).49

28The chapter goes on to mention the major share of Cail in the erection of the exhibition palaces of the Paris World Fairs of 1867, 1878 and 1889, and passes on to the use of metal construction systems for private houses (a house built 1868 in Guadeloupe completely of iron made in the Cail workshops and used as the office for the company's local agency, and two residential houses recently built for clients in Martinique) before turning to the company's bridge construction projects.

29This text is interesting for our question in three ways. First, the description of Cail's Egyptian sugar factories “featuring a complete skeleton in iron framework, with roofing in corrugated iron sheets” bears striking similarities to Fives-Lille's factory at Maʿsarat Samalut. It emerges that Cail's sugar factories for the Khedive were structurally similar or identical to Fives-Lille's. Second, the text speaks of the five factories established in 1870 and thus refers to those built in the early phase of the Daira Saniyya project. While we may presume that the factories erected by Cail in the later phase after 1870 were built following the same construction technique, the date makes clear that Cail was already using the iron-skeleton system before other companies – namely Fives-Lille and Easton and Anderson – even joined the project around 1870-1871. Which brings us to the third point: The text gives Cail's sugar factories in Egypt a strikingly prominent position among the metal construction projects of the company, implicitly by invoking them before all other realisations in France and abroad, and explicitly by introducing them as “the principal and most important installations,” saying that “numerous factories have subsequently been established in the same way” in locations in the Americas, the Indian Ocean and Europe, including the most important existing central factories in France. In other words: In Cail's own narrative, the sugar factories built for Khedive Ismail in Egypt were the starting point for the introduction and generalisation of the system of iron framework construction (“le système de construction métallique”) in the company's building activities elsewhere in the world.

30The already-mentioned factory of Darboussier in Guadeloupe (built 1868-69) might have been one of the earliest among this global progeny. Therefore, a comparative examination of this factory with the help of published historical photographs may help us to obtain at least a rough idea of how Cail's factory buildings in Egypt might have looked (figs. 7 and 8): An interior view shows batteries of evaporators and vacuum pans set up on a long, elevated metal platform running through the length of a building which can be identified as the “salle des appareils,” the main processing hall of the factory. The building itself is clearly recognisable as a metal-skeleton structure, with metal columns integrated into the lateral walls, horizontal lattice girders connecting the columns at the eaves (exactly like Fives-Lille's factory at Maʿsarat Samalut), and Polonceau trusses carrying a metal roof. An exterior view of the Darboussier factory also shows a row of vertical metal flues on the roof ridge, very similar to those seen at Fives-Lille's factory at Maʿsarat Samalut. It seems that Cail's factory at Darboussier and those in Egypt built by Cail and Fives-Lille share decisive constructive features.

Figure 7: Sugar factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, erected by Cail in 1868, interior view dating from the late 19th century.

Figure 7: Sugar factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, erected by Cail in 1868, interior view dating from the late 19th century.

Source: Postcard.

Figure 8: Cail, Darboussier sugar factory, exterior, postcard Sugar factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, erected by Cail in 1868, exterior view dating from the late 19th century.

Figure 8: Cail, Darboussier sugar factory, exterior, postcard Sugar factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, erected by Cail in 1868, exterior view dating from the late 19th century.

Source: Postcard.

  • 50 ANMT 1994 001 303, plates 87 and 88.

31So far, the sources do not explain how Fives came to use what seems initially to be Cail's system of iron-framework construction for sugar factories. But certainly both companies, in the context of their participation agreement, had set up efficient ways of jointly creating large metal structures, with both companies producing identical elements in their respective works and assembling them on site in various parts of Europe and the world. This required the ongoing transfer of knowhow and technical specifications between the two companies that might have continued after the end of the participation agreement in 1870 and played a role in Fives-Lille's sugar factory design when Fives expanded into the field of sugar equipment. Like Cail, Fives-Lille also went on to use the same system of construction for later jobs. In the album that contains the photograph of the factory at Maʿsarat Samalut, there are images of other sugar factories built by Fives-Lille elsewhere in the world. One of them, the cane-sugar factory of “Quissaman” (Quissamã) in Brazil built in 1877, is represented in two photographs, a frontal and a lateral view (figs. 9 and 10).50 It has a different overall layout, but shows essential structural similarities with the one in Egypt: The exterior walls are almost identical, with visible metal columns and open lattice girders on the eaves level; the brick-masonry infills and the windows are of identical design. Here, however, the upper parts of the gable walls are screened with louvre panels instead of glass panels (the louvres providing better ventilation). The roof construction with triangular trusses looks similar to that in Egypt, but here, the roofs are covered with tiles instead of corrugated iron. The captions of the two photos refer to the buildings as “iron buildings” (“bâtiments en fer”), describe the structure as a “framework set up on iron columns” (“charpente établie sur piliers en fer”) and mention the “skeleton of the framework” (“ossature de la charpente”).

Figure 9: Sugar factory at Quissamã, Brazil, erected by Fives-Lille 1877, frontal view, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.

Figure 9: Sugar factory at Quissamã, Brazil, erected by Fives-Lille 1877, frontal view, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.

Source: Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.

Figure 10: Sugar factory at Quissamã, Brazil, erected by Fives-Lille 1877, lateral view, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.

Figure 10: Sugar factory at Quissamã, Brazil, erected by Fives-Lille 1877, lateral view, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.

Source: Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.

  • 51 ANMT 1994 001 303, plate 64.

32A contrasting example is the beetroot-sugar factory of Prince Woronzoff at “Marüne Choutor Gouvernement de Kieff (Russie)” (today Ukraine) erected by Fives-Lille in 1875-1876.51 Here, as is visible from the photograph (fig. 11) and explained in the captions, the structure is built with masonry bearing walls, the metal construction being limited to the roof trusses, the roofing with corrugated iron sheets, and the iron floor construction on cast-iron columns. Since among Fives-Lille's sugar factories represented in the album, the one in Maʿsarat Samalut is the earliest, it is possible that this company, like Cail, first began to apply the system of metal framework construction in Egypt and then went on to apply it elsewhere. The example in Quissamã shows that applying the same construction system did not necessarily produce identical results, as variations were possible depending on the client, location, and circumstances. As we can see from the Ukrainian example, even a much more conservative structural solution could still be offered to clients.

Figure 11: Beet-sugar factory of Prince Woronzoff at Marüne Choutor, Russia (now Ukraine), erected by Fives-Lille 1875-76, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.

Figure 11: Beet-sugar factory of Prince Woronzoff at Marüne Choutor, Russia (now Ukraine), erected by Fives-Lille 1875-76, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.

Source: Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.

33With Cail and Fives-Lille both opting for iron framework construction when building the sugar factories for Khedive Ismail, it is interesting to look at the factory built by their English competitor Easton and Anderson at Aba al-Waqf. It was erected in 1871-72, i.e. contemporary to Fives-Lille's factory, and later than the first generation of Cail's factories built between 1867 and 1870. The text of Anderson's report does not describe the building itself, but as can be discerned from the published section drawings, all walls – exterior walls and dividing walls – are masonry bearing walls. The roof is composed of parallel barrel-vaults of metal construction, made of segmental-arched braced ribs (probably covered with corrugated iron sheet) which are supported on the bearing walls or alternatively – for the larger span of the main hall – on cast-iron columns. Hence, Easton and Anderson applied a structurally more conservative system of bearing walls with metal roof. The use of iron framework construction for the entire building was a specificity of the French-built sugar factories for the Daira Saniyya.

Iron framework construction and turnkey factories

  • 52 To give but one reference for this broad and complex subject, see Tom F. Peters, Building the Ninet (...)
  • 53 See e.g. Ghislaine Alleaume and Mercedes Volait, “The Age of Transition: The Nineteenth and Twentie (...)

34Without knowledge of the technical details of these framework constructions, e.g. the forms of iron used (wrought iron, cast iron, early Bessemer steel?), the profiles of columns and beams, the kinds of joints used (rivets or bolts and nuts?), and how innovative or well-tried these were in global comparison, it is hard to assess the technical importance of Ismail's French-built sugar factories. In any case, the novelty was not the iron-skeleton or framework construction as such, which at that point already had a history of being applied in glass houses, exhibition palaces, market halls, train stations, warehouses, and industrial facilities.52 Nor was it in the use of iron construction in Egypt, which was occasionally to be found since the construction of the first railway from Alexandria to Cairo in 1854-56, and increasingly by the late 1860s and early 1870s, usually by the importing and installation of prefabricated elements provided by mechanical engineering companies and iron foundries in Europe.53

  • 54 There were earlier examples of iron industrial buildings that were prefabricated and exported as bu (...)
  • 55 Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. cit. (note 11), p. 192.
  • 56 ANMT 198 AQ 8, Procès-verbaux du Conseil d'administration Fives-Lille, années 1865-1869, p. 107.
  • 57 Christian Schnakenbourg, La Compagnie sucrière de La Pointe-à-Pitre, op. cit. (note 37), p. 88‒9.

35The novelty might rather lie in the large-scale application and generalisation of the skeleton construction for factory buildings in larger numbers, i.e. in a kind of batch production and prefab-construction of factories to be exported as building 'kits'.54 Moreover, as the buildings were produced and erected by the same companies that produced and set up the machinery, we are also dealing with a “turnkey” delivery of complete factories, which in itself can be considered a novelty at the time. This particular combination was probably an important factor in the successful establishment of thirteen factories in a distant location like Upper Egypt within a few years by one company alone. The system helped to reduce the time and effort needed on site for the procurement of building material and for the construction process, and it guaranteed that the delivered machines could be set up properly in their complex composition – a crucial advantage for technologised industrial installations like sugar factories. The sugar industry offered particularly favourable conditions for the introduction of metal construction as part of the turnkey delivery of factories: Starting with the first central factories in the 1840s, sending construction crews together with the machinery to distant locations in order to set up the installation certainly became established practice. For Cail, there is also evidence that already at that time he began to send engineers and workers to prepare the buildings beforehand.55 The elevated, iron-built platforms for the installation of the apparatus must soon have become part of the package, too, and therefore, iron-framework construction on a smaller scale was already part of what Cail provided when setting up machinery. The addition of prefabricated material for the building's “envelope,” i.e. frames and trusses for walls and roofs, and their field assembly as part of the package was just another logical extension of this tested practice. For a company like Cail, which had all the required production facilities for both the machinery and the metal framework at its disposal, this solution was very feasible. Within the participation agreement with Fives-Lille, the equipment and special tools required for the on-site assembly of large-scale metal frameworks had also been developed.56 The solution was not only feasible, it was also attractive, because it reinforced an already practised single-source system (in which the client bought all the required equipment from one single supplier) by increasing the content and the price of the package, and it kept other companies out of the deal, thus raising the producer's potential share in a construction project for a sugar factory to nearly 100 percent. J. F. Cail, indeed, was an ambitious and business-minded industrialist known for “using and abusing his superiority” with clients in order to obtain bigger orders.57 Therefore, he was in an excellent position to introduce this system of turnkey delivery of complete sugar factories, including machinery and metal-framework buildings entirely produced in his workshops. Khedive Ismail, on the other hand, in requiring large numbers of factories in a short period of time, and being willing to pay accordingly, provided both a challenge that called for new and efficient solutions and an unprecedented opportunity to test them out.

  • 58 Difficulties created by unloading and transshipping large quantities of material (in this case fact (...)
  • 59 ANMT 1994 001 333, ”Récompenses décernées aux Établissements Cail depuis leur fondation,” chronolog (...)

36Evidently, it proved challenging to get all the material to the right places, synchronize the arrival of the material with the presence of the French crews of engineers and skilled engineering workers, and coordinate the construction work with large numbers of fellahin (including young boys and girls) that were hired locally, also in the form of corvée, to do terracing work, make bricks, prepare lime, and other chores.58 Clearly, prefab- and turnkey construction still required substantial local involvement, the provision of construction material and participation of local labour. The challenge was important enough for Cail to send his most qualified and high-ranking engineers to Egypt to manage the construction activities, and for their successful efforts, Khedive Ismail decorated many of them with crosses of the Majidiyya Order.59

37For Cail, and for Fives-Lille, this solution proved successful enough to be applied subsequently on a regular basis for other contracts elsewhere in the world. Also in Egypt, later factories built by Fives-Lille – for example the refinery of al-Hawamdiyya from 1881 and the gigantic sugar factory of Nagʿ Hammadi from 1895 – featured the characteristic metal-skeleton buildings (figs. 12 and 13). As documented by the photographs and plans of numerous sugar factories built by Fives-Lille around the world during the 20th century, the turnkey delivery of factories, or parts of factories, in metal-skeleton construction became a very typical and persistent way of building sugar factories.

Figure 12: Sugar factory at Nagʿ Hammadi, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1895-97, view of the metal framework construction of the boiler house (undated photo, probably 2nd quarter of the 20th century).

Figure 12: Sugar factory at Nagʿ Hammadi, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1895-97, view of the metal framework construction of the boiler house (undated photo, probably 2nd quarter of the 20th century).

Source: Giza (Egypt), Agricultural Museum.

Figure 13: Sugar refinery at al-Hawamdiyya, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1881 and after, view of metal skeleton buildings, 2009.

Figure 13: Sugar refinery at al-Hawamdiyya, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1881 and after, view of metal skeleton buildings, 2009.

Source: Ralph Bodenstein, DAI Cairo.

Conclusion

38Documents from the company archives of the French engineering firms Cail and Fives-Lille, combined with scattered evidence from numerous other sources in various languages and with comparisons with similar buildings elsewhere in the world, have made it possible to reconstruct substantial aspects of the architecture and history of the sugar factories built for Khedive Ismail's Daira Saniyya between 1867 and 1875. Pending the possibility to access and document eventual remains of these factory buildings (if there are any) and to analyse their construction, this combined approach allowed an idea of their architectural form and construction techniques to be obtained and the rescue from oblivion of a group of buildings that was not only part of one of the largest agro-industrial development projects of the 19th century, but which unexpectedly turns out to be relevant for architectural and construction history in a global perspective. The characteristic shared by the fourteen sugar factories built by Cail and Fives-Lille was that they were built entirely as iron skeleton structures including iron roofing, and as single-source turnkey projects that combined the delivery and on-site assembly of prefabricated metal-building elements with the delivery and installation of the machinery by one single company. This novel system gave Cail and Fives-Lille a competitive edge that they continued to exploit afterwards in other locations and for other clients, in Egypt, in France, and elsewhere in the world.

39Many questions still remain open, certainly regarding the technical details of the metal constructions, but also regarding the roles and interaction of the various players involved – European, Egyptian, and maybe others – in the planning and construction process, and regarding other companies involved in erecting other factories and in setting up the infrastructure (railways, bridges, etc.) for the Daira Saniyya project. It also remains to be assessed whether, and how exactly, these iron-framework constructions subsequently influenced architectural and structural-engineering developments beyond the sugar industry and beyond the construction activities of Cail and Fives-Lille, in Egypt and elsewhere.

40Case studies like these, making use of company archives from an architectural-historical perspective, help to put buildings and actors on the radar that have so far been uncredited by the historiography of architecture and building technology. Khedive Ismail's sugar factories deserve attention not simply as outstanding buildings in the history of industrial architecture in Egypt, or because of the involvement of European construction and engineering companies in their creation. They also deserve attention because of their role in global developments of architectural production, and because they enrich and complicate our knowledge of how, in the 19th century, innovations in technology and methods of construction were developed and diffused in a global network of places and actors.

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Notes

1 Jean Mazuel, Le sucre en Egypte. Étude de géographie historique et économique, Cairo: Société royale de géographie d'Egypte, 1937, p. 35 (author's translation).

2 A survey of Egypt's historical industrial architecture of the 19th and 20th centuries was begun by the author at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI), Cairo Department, in spring 2009. For a first overview, see Ralph Bodenstein, “Industrial Architecture in Egypt from Muhammad ‘Ali to Sadat: A Field Survey,” in Mohammad al-Asad (ed.), Workplaces: The Transformation of Places of Production: Industrialization and the Built Environment in the Islamic World, Istanbul: İstanbul  Bilgi University Press, 2010, p. 41‒80. URL: http://archnet.org/publications/5493. Accessed 15 November 2014.

3 Edmond Théry, L'Égypte nouvelle au point de vue économique et financier, Paris: L'Économiste européen 1907, p. 141.

4 Active sugar factories in locations identified as sites of Ismail's factories are those of Armant, possibly Abu Qurqas (where a new factory was built in 1904), and maybe al-Shaykh Fadl (where a new factory was built in 1893). It has not yet been possible to access any of these sites, pending permission. Two of the most important present factories, the sugar refinery of al-Hawamdiyya south of Cairo and the factory of Nagʿ Hammadi, were established in 1881 and 1895‒7 respectively. Other present-day cane-sugar factories are, from North to South, Girga (est. 1987), Dishna (est. 1977), Qus (est. 1968), Edfu (est. 1963) and Kom Ombo (est. 1910‒2). It goes without saying that the older factories among these were subject to repeated modernisation and upgrading, reducing the likelihood that original buildings and structures have survived.

5 Samir Saul, La France et l'Égypte de 1882 à 1914: Intérêts économiques et implications politiques, Paris: Comité pour l'histoire économique et financière de la France 1997, p. 382‒3; Uri M. Kupferschmidt, Henri Naus Bey: Retrieving the Biography of a Belgian Industrialist in Egypt, Brussels: Académie royale des sciences d'outre-mer, 1999 (Mémoire in-8o. Académie royale des sciences d'outre-mer. Classe des sciences morales et politiques. Nouv. sér. t. 52, fasc. 2), p. 20‒7. Roger Owen, “The Study of Middle Eastern Industrial History: Notes on the Interrelationship Between Factories and Small-Scale Manufacturing with Special References to Lebanese Silk and Egyptian Sugar, 1900-1930,” International Journal of Middle East Studies, vol. 16, n° 4, 1984, Roger Owen, “The Egyptian Sugar Industry, 1870-1914: From state to private ownership and from export orientation to production for the local market,” in Bill Albert and Adrian Graves (eds.), Crisis and Change in the International Sugar Economy, 1860-1914, Norwich: ISC Press 1984. Possibly relevant, but not accessible while writing of this article was Roger Owen, “The Middle Eastern Factory as a Site for the Application of New Technology in the Nineteenth Century,” in Clive Dewey (ed.), The State and the Market: Studies in the Economic and Social History of the Third World, London: Sangam 1988, p. 192‒205.

6 The research at the ANMT was conducted during two weeks in November 2012 and was generously funded through a short-term scientific mission (STSM) grant awarded by the COST action IS0904 “European Architecture beyond Europe: Sharing Research and Knowledge on Dissemination Processes, Historical Data and Material Legacy (19th-20th centuries)” URL: http://architecturebeyond.eu.huma-num.fr/. Accessed 15 November 2014. I have to thank Claudine Piaton for her substantial help and information regarding the holdings of the Archives nationales du monde du travail (Roubaix, France).

7 Alfred Jacques Chélu, De l'équateur à la Méditerranée. Le Nil, le Soudan, l'Égypte: ouvrage accompagné de nombreuses cartes hors textes imprimées en couleurs, Paris: Chaix, Garnier frères 1891, p. 226 (author's translation). For illustrative drawings of such a mill, documented during the French occupation of Egypt 1798-1801, see the Description de l'Égypte, ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française, publié par les ordres de sa majesté l'empereur Napoléon le grand. État moderne, vol. 2, pl. VII.

8 Alfred Jacques Chélu, De l'équateur à la Méditerranée, op. cit. (note 7), p. 226; Antoine Barthélemy Clot (Clot-bey), Aperçu générale sur l'Égypte, Paris: Fortin, Masson et Cie 1840, vol. 2, p. 293. The dates of construction of the last four factories, given by Chélu as between 1840 and 1845, are contradicted by other sources that give the dates as 1845‒1847; compare below, fn. 14.

9 Jean Mazuel, Le sucre en Egypte. op. cit. (note 1), p 32. Chélu, however, mentions only Cail; see Alfred Jacques Chélu, De l'équateur à la Méditerranée, op. cit. (note 7), p. 226.

10 Jean Mazuel refers to both Cail and Pastré as being of Paris. Regarding Pastré this might be an error, as no pertinent Parisian company of this name has so far been identified. Better known for its connections to Egypt is Maison Pastré frères, a family company originally from Marseille and based in Alexandria, that – particularly from the 1840s and up to the 1870s – was active in shipping, trade, banking, agricultural and industrial equipment, and public works. See Jean-Marie Thiveaud “Un marché en éruption: Alexandrie (1850-1880),” Revue d'économie financière, vol. 30, no.30, 1994, p. 273‒98, URL: http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/ecofi_0987-3368_1994_num_30_3_2550, Accessed 21 November 2014. Pastré's role in the construction of Muhammad ʿAli's sugar factories might therefore rather be one of an intermediary, supplying equipment produced by other companies abroad.

11 Jean-François Cail was trained as a boilermaker and entered Derosne's workshop in Paris in 1824, where his future career was closely linked to the successful expansion of the company and the ongoing industrial revolution in France. On J.-F. Cail's life and the history of the company named after him, see Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail. Un acteur majeur de la première révolution industrielle, Chef-Boutonne: Association C.A.I.L. 2004. On Charles Derosne, see also “Derosne, (Louis-)Charles,” in Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008. URL: www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-2830901144.html. Accessed 25 November 2014.

12 As a direct result of the advanced machinery and processing systems (like the “système Derosne-Cail”) developed in the 1830s in the context of the fierce competition between French beetroot sugar and colonial cane sugar, central factories integrated these technical innovations in a coherent system of industrial scale. In contrast to the old-style colonial sugar manufactories, they required significantly higher investment, but produced high-quality sugar that could be sold directly, without requiring further refinement in metropolitan European refineries. Derosne & Cail were involved in the construction of the first central factories in the world, in Guadeloupe and Martinique: of a dozen built between 1843-1848, Derosne & Cail provided six. See Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. cit. (note 11), p. 182‒96; J.H. Galloway, The Sugar Cane Industry: An Historical Geography from Its Origins to 1914, Cambridge; New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 1989, p. 134‒41; Christian Schnakenbourg, “From Sugar Estate to Central Factory: The Industrial Revolution in the Caribbean (1840-1905),” in Bill Albert and Adrian Graves (eds.), Crisis and Change in the International Sugar Economy 1860-1914, Norwich: I.S.C. Press 1984, p. 83‒94.

13 E. Guigon bey: “Monnier (Jean-Baptiste),” Société des anciens élèves des écoles nationales d'arts et métiers, Bulletin administratif 1111, n°5, mai 1892, p. 279‒303 (notices nécrologiques). Système d'Information Patrons et Patronat Français. XIXe-XXe siècles. URL: http://www.patronsdefrance.fr/?q=sippaf-actor-record/23317. Accessed 27 November 2014. Cail's supply of machinery and Monnier's personal assistance raise the intriguing question of how Muhammad ʿAli's factories of the 1840s compared to the novel central factories just introduced in the Caribbean islands. But this question is beyond the scope of this article.

14 This was true for most of the industries established or expanded under Muhammad ʿAli; see e.g. Ghislaine Alleaume, “Les techniciens européens dans l'Égypte de Muhammad 'Alî (1805-1848),” Cahiers de la Méditerranée [online] 84 (2012), accessed August 29, 2013. URL: http://cdlm.revues.org/6439.

15 Ghislaine Alleaume, “An Industrial Revolution in Agriculture? Some Observations on the Evolution of Rural Egypt in the Nineteenth Century,” in Alan K. Bowman and Eugene Rogan (eds.), Agriculture in Egypt: From Pharaonic to Modern Times, Oxford: Oxford University Press 1999 (Proceedings of the British Academy, 96), p. 331‒45; Mohamed Scharabi, Industrie und Industriebau in Ägypten. Eine Einführung in die Geschichte der Industrie im Nahen Osten, Tübingen: E. Wasmuth 1992; Ralph Bodenstein, “Industrial Architecture in Egypt from Muhammad ‘Ali to Sadat: A Field Survey,” in Mohammad al-Asad (ed.), Workplaces: The Transformation of Places of Production: Industrialization and the Built Environment in the Islamic World, Istanbul: Bilgi University Press, 2010, here p. 43‒51.

16 On the early introduction of steam power and newest industrial machinery in colonial sugar factories, see Louis Figuier, Les merveilles de l'industrie ou Description des principales industries modernes : industries chimiques. Le sucre, le papier, les papiers peints..., Paris: Jouvet 1873, vol. 1, p. 15. URL: http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb358059302. Accessed 27 June 2014.

17 The data concerning the cultivated areas should not be taken at face value; other authors give different numbers, partly due to different stages of expansion and devolution of the Daira Saniyya lands over time. For some general information about the Daira Saniyya (al-Dā'ira al-Saniyya), see e.g. Raouf Abbas and Assem El-Dessouky, The Large Landowning Class and the Peasantry in Egypt, 1837-1952, (translated from the Arabic by Amer Mohsen with Mona Zikri, edited by Peter Gran), Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press 2012, p. 56‒8; and Robert Hunter, Egypt Under the Khedives 1805-1879: From Household Government to Modern Bureaucracy, (first publ. 1984 University of Pittsburgh Press), Cairo: American University Press 1999, p. 64‒6. An in-depth historical study of this important administration is still a desideratum. A recent doctoral thesis in archival studies at Cairo University is an important step in this direction: Huda Sayyid Amin Hasan: al-Sijjilat wa-l-wathaʾiq al-ʿarabiyya bi-l-daʾira al-saniyya fi l-fitra min 1260H/1844AD ila 1316H/1898AD. Dirasa arshifiyya wathaʾiqiyya, unpubl. PhD thesis, Cairo, Cairo University 2010.

18 In the Nile Delta, perennial irrigation had already been introduced under Muhammad ʿAli in the first half of the 19th century.

19 The new railway line to Upper Egypt was in discussion as early as 1863 – i.e. some years before Ismail's sugar project – and its initial long-term objective was to connect Cairo with Khartum in the Sudan, in support of Ismail's larger ambition to create an African Empire. However, as has been noted by contemporary observers at that early stage, the first thing the line would effectively do was to open up Ismail's already existing sugar plants and estates in Upper Egypt (namely those at al-Rawda inherited from his father Ibrahim Pasha), and thus serve his and his family's fortune. See David S. Landes, Bankers and Pashas. International Finance and Economic Imperialism in Egypt, London : Heinemann 1958 (Kingswood books on social history), p. 155.

20 According to the obituaries of James Wilson a.k.a. Wilson Pasha (1831-1906), chief engineer for Ismail Pasha 1863-1875 and chief engineer to the Egyptian government from 1875. URL: http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/James_Wilson_(1831-1906). Accessed 30 November 2014.

21 Heinrich Stephan, Das heutige Aegypten. Ein Abriss seiner physischen, politischen, wirthschaftlichen und Cultur-Zustände, Leipzig: F.A. Brockhaus 1872, p. 116. Stephan's information is based on a visit made in 1869.

22 Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. cit. (note 11), p. 83. Thomas relies heavily on company archive material including that at the ANMT in Roubaix, yet unfortunately for our purpose, he does not provide any source information for this fascinating account.

23 Archives nationales du monde du travail, Roubaix (France) hereafter ANMT 1994 001 333, “Récompenses décernées aux Etablissements Cail depuis leur fondation”.

24 The company was initially established in 1854 as “Société Parent et Schaken” in Oullins (Rhône, France) by the Belgian engineers Pierre Schaken (1793-1870) and Basile Parent (1807-66).

25 ANMT 198 AQ 8, “Procès-verbaux du Conseil d'administration Fives-Lille, années 1865-1869: 1867”, p. 180.

26 Inventory ANMT 1994 001, Fives-Lille, S.F.C.M Cail, Fives-Lille Cail, Fives-Cail Babcock, p. 3, “Historique”. A merger with Babcock Atlantique in 1973 established Fives-Cail Babcock (FCB), and in 1980 the name Compagnie de Fives-Lille was re-established for the holding company. For the history of the company, see also Hélène Géli, “Fives, fleuron de l’industrie sidérurgique du Nord,” Histoire d’Entreprises, n° 9, 2011. URL: http://www.histoire-entreprises.fr/he-le-magazine/fives-fleuron-de-l-industrie-siderurgique-du-nord-fives-lille-cail-babcok/. Accessed 30 November 2014.

27 Jean Mazuel, Le sucre en Egypte. op. cit. (note 1), p. 35 [author's translation]

28 Edmond Théry, L'Égypte nouvelle au point de vue économique et financier, op. cit. (note 3), p. 53, p. 141, 216‒7.

29 François Charles-Roux, “Le capital français en Égypte”, L'Égypte contemporaine, v. 2, n° 8, November 1911, p. 482.

30 ʿAbd al-Rahman al-Rafiʿi, ʿAsr Ismaʿil, vol. 2, Cairo: Maktaba al-Usra 2001 [originally published: Cairo 1932], p. 13‒4.

31 Nawal Qasim, Tatawwur al-sinaʿa al-misriyya mundhu ʿahd Muhammad ʿAli hatta ʿahd ʿAbd al-Nasir, Cairo: Maktabat Madbūlī 1987, p. 137‒8.

32 Samir Saul, La France et l'Égypte de 1882 à 1914, op. cit. (note 32), p. 382. According to Saul, the factories had cost 158 million francs, obtained through a loan.

33 Huda Sayyid Amin Hasan, al-Sijjilat wa-l-wathaʾiq al-ʿarabiyya bi-l-daʾira al-saniyya fi l-fitra min 1260H/1844AD ila 1316H/1898AD. Dirasa arshifiyya wathaʾiqiyya, unpubl. PhD thesis, Cairo University, 2010, p. 105‒6.

34 ANMT 1991 005 0269 through 1991 005 0280; these units comprise the plans of bundle (“liasse”) 5511 containing technical studies relating to sugar factories.

35 For Egypt, the collection contains drawings for details, additions and machinery for the sugar refinery of al-Hawamdiyya (established in 1881) and the sugar factories of Nagʿ Hammadi (first built in 1895-97), al-Shaykh Fadl (new factory in 1893), Abu Qurqas (new factory in 1904), Armant (first established in the 1840s, repeatedly renewed), Kom Ombo (built in 1910-12), and Malawi (construction date not known). None of these plans represent overviews of extant structures.

36 These are part of units ANMT 1994 001 332 and 1994 001 333, the first containing material from the library (“bibliothèque de l'usine”) of Fives-Lille, the second containing a collection of documentation and historical notes regarding the various companies of the Fives-Cail-Babcock group.

37 ANMT 1994 001 332, “Exposition 1878, Notices sur les Objets,” p. 8 (author's translation). The factory of Darboussier, co-owned by J. F. Cail, has been the subject of an historical study by Christian Schnakenbourg, La Compagnie sucrière de La Pointe-à-Pitre (E. Souques & Cie), histoire de l'usine Darhoussier de 1867 à 1907, Paris: L'Harmattan 1997.

38 ANMT 1994 001 303, plate 81.

39 There are various lists of works completed by Fives-Lille in company booklets for world exhibitions, for instance ANMT 1994 001 332, classe 60, Exposition Universelle de 1889 à Paris. Compagnie de Fives-Lille pour Constructions mécaniques & entreprises, Paris: Imprimerie des Arts et Manufactures 1889, p. 41; for Egypt, next to a number of metal bridges for the Nile, the Mahmudiyya canal, the Ibrahimiyya canal, the Ismailiyya canal, material for agricultural railways, and some metal roof and ceiling constructions for palaces, this list mentions only one factory building: the “sucrerie de Massarah-el-Samalouth” dated 1870-1872; Another later booklet, n° 68 Exposition Universelle de 1900. Compagnie de Fives-Lille pour Constructions mécaniques & entreprises, Paris: Imprimerie des Arts et Manufactures 1900, p. 19 and 25, lists for Egypt the sugar factories of “Massarah el Samalout”, “Cheikh-Faddl”, “Hawamdieh”, “Naghamadi”; of these, only the first dates from the 1870s, the remaining three are constructions of the 1880s and 1890s.

40 John Carlile McCoan, Egypt as it is, New York: Henry Holt and Company 1877, p. 147‒9.

41 Ibid., p. 148.

42 For a short history of the company, see Graces Guide, URL: http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Easton_and_Anderson. Accessed 06 November 2014. For details on William Anderson and his trip to Egypt in 1871 “to work on the building of three large sugar factories”, see http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/William_Anderson. Accessed 06 November 2014.

43 William Anderson, “On the Aba-el-Wakf Sugar Factory, Upper Egypt,” Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. 35, session 1872‒1873, part I, p. 37‒109. Anderson gave his lecture at the Institution of Civil Engineers on November 26, 1872. The volume is available online at https://archive.org/details/minutesofproceed35inst. Accessed 07 November 2014. Again, more contradictions appear with every new piece of evidence: Rather than the three factories reportedly built by Easton and Anderson as just noted above, William Anderson himself only mentions two factories. Anderson's account also contradicts Charles-Roux who explicitly listed Aba al-Waqf and Bani Mazar as sites built by Cail.

44 See J.H. Galloway, The Sugar Cane Industry, p. 134‒8; Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. cit. (note 11), p. 188‒9.

45 See “Disposition générale d'une sucrerie de canne, installée à Nossi-Bé, sur la côte de Madagascar, par MM. Brissonneau frères, constructeurs à Nantes”, Publication industrielle des machines, outils et appareils les plus perfectionnés et les plus récents employés dans les différentes branches de l'industrie française et etrangère, vol. 14, 1863, p. 392‒412 and plates 31‒32; URL: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb32845701b/date. Accessed 29 November 2014. This basic layout remained still valid as a planning model in the 1890s, as shown by the model plans for a cane sugar factory in Ludwig Klasen (ed.), Grundriss-Vorbilder von Gebäuden aller Art, Abth. XV, Theil 2: Zuckerfabriken, Zuckerwaaren-, Chocoladen- und Cichorien-Fabriken. Handbuch für Baubehörden, Bauherren, Architekten, Ingenieure, Baumeister, Bauunternehmer, Bauhandwerker und technische Lehranstalten, Leipzig: Baumgärtner's Buchhandlung 1896, figs. 3434‒3440.

46 Christian Schnakenbourg, La Compagnie sucrière de La Pointe-à-Pitre, op. cit. (note 37), p. 30. Schnakenbourg's remark about the timber construction of Guadeloupe's sugar factories up to the 1860s would imply that even the early central factories equipped by Cail and others since the 1840s were timber buildings. For masonry-and-timber buildings in the West Indies and Florida, see Lucie B. Wayne, Sweet Cane: The Architecture of the Sugar Works of East Florida, Tuscaloosa: The University of Alabama Press 2010; Chuck Meide, “The Sugar Factory in the Colonial West Indies: an Archaeological and Historical Comparative Analysis,” manuscript, College and William and Mary 2003. URL: https://www.academia.edu/3258102/The_Sugar_Factory_in_the_Colonial_West_Indies_an_Archaeological_and_Historical_Comparitive_Analysis. Accessed 30 November 2014.

47 Short descriptions of sugar factories that also mention the surrounding buildings (administrative, residential, warehouses, workshops etc.) can be found in ʿAli Mubarak, al-Khitat al-Tawfiqiyya al-jadida li-Misr al-Qahira wa-muduniha wa-biladiha al-qadima wa-l-shahira, vol. 15, Cairo: Dar al-Kutub wa-l-Wathaʾiq al-Qawmiyya, Markaz Tahqiq al-Turath 1423/2002, p. 46‒7 (for “Matay” and “al-Mataʿna”). Originally written and published in the 1880s, ʿAli Pasha Mubarak's Khiṭaṭ are an important, almost contemporary source for the study of our subject and will have to be included in future research. An initial systematic evaluation has, however, shown that his treatment of locations and factories, while rich in numerical details (giving numbers of pumps, engines, sugar output volume, etc.), is problematic because of inconsistencies and omissions. It is significant that he wrote more than a decade after the construction of the Daira Saniyya factories, when many had already been shut down. In any case, his treatment does not deal with architectural features of the factories.

48 A short description dating from 1864 is quoted by Colette Dubois, “Miel et sucre en Afrique Orientale, 1830-1870: Complementarité ou Concurrence?,” The International Journal of African Historical Studies, vol. 22, n° 3, 1989, p. 453‒72, here p. 466‒7.

49 Cf. ANMT 1994 001 333, Anciens Établissements Cail. Société anonyme...Extrait des Grandes Industries Françaises. Album national de la fabrique et de l'industrie, Paris: Imprimerie L. Walter, [1893], p. 19 (translation by the author). The sugar factory of Cambrai (Escaudoeuvres) was built in 1872, Meaux in 1871, i.e. after those in Egypt.

50 ANMT 1994 001 303, plates 87 and 88.

51 ANMT 1994 001 303, plate 64.

52 To give but one reference for this broad and complex subject, see Tom F. Peters, Building the Nineteenth Century, Cambridge, Mass.; London: MIT Press, 1996, esp. chap. 6. A sufficiently detailed discussion would go beyond the scope of this article.

53 See e.g. Ghislaine Alleaume and Mercedes Volait, “The Age of Transition: The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries;” in André Raymond (ed.), The Glory of Cairo: An Illustrated History, Cairo: AUC Press 2002, p. 361‒464, esp. 370‒93; for the bridges, see also Samir Raafat, “A Bridge Misunderstood,” Egyptian Mail, Saturday, April 29, 1995. For a list of Fives-Lille's metal constructions in Egypt, see ANMT 1994 001 332, classe 60, Exposition Universelle de 1889 à Paris. Compagnie de Fives-Lille pour Constructions mécaniques & entreprises, Paris: Imprimerie des Arts et Manufactures 1889, p. 41.

54 There were earlier examples of iron industrial buildings that were prefabricated and exported as building kits: e.g. William Fairbairn's famed all-iron corn mill for Istanbul of 1842, or the less famous hammer-mill building of A. Borsig in Berlin-Moabit of 1850, a light-weight, iron-framework barrel-vault of which Borsig produced and erected two identical “copies” in Germany and in Finland. See William Fairbairn, Treatise on Mills and Millwork. II. On Machinery of Transmission and the Construction and Arrangement of Mills, London: Longmans, Green and Co. 1865, p. 118ff; Miron Mislin, Industriearchitektur in Berlin 1840-1910, Tübingen and Berlin: Ernst Wasmuth Verlag 2002, esp. chap. 8; also Ines Prokop: Vom Eisenbau zum Stahlbau. Tragwerke und ihre Protagonisten in Berlin 1850-1925, Berlin: Mensch und Buch Verlag 2012, p. 118f.

55 Jean-Louis Thomas, Jean-François Cail, op. cit. (note 11), p. 192.

56 ANMT 198 AQ 8, Procès-verbaux du Conseil d'administration Fives-Lille, années 1865-1869, p. 107.

57 Christian Schnakenbourg, La Compagnie sucrière de La Pointe-à-Pitre, op. cit. (note 37), p. 88‒9.

58 Difficulties created by unloading and transshipping large quantities of material (in this case factory equipment and steam plows for sugar plantations) in the port of Alexandria, and the problems of misrouted material ending up in the wrong places, or arriving incomplete or with considerable delay at the construction sites, were witnessed in spring 1872 by Max Eyth, Im Strom unsrer Zeit - Erster und zweiter Teil, Carl Winter's Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt 1909 (Max Eyths Gesammelte Schriften; 5), chap. 51-52. The fellahin workers were observed at the construction site of the Maghagha sugar factory by Raoul Lacour, L'Égypte, d'Alexandrie à la seconde cataracte, Paris: Hachette, 1871, p. 277‒8.

59 ANMT 1994 001 333, ”Récompenses décernées aux Établissements Cail depuis leur fondation,” chronological list ”Décorations décernées au personnel des Établissements Cail depuis 1812 jusqu'au 16 Janvier 1882”. The decorated persons were J.F. Cail himself, his son Alfred Cail (decorated twice), M. Cheilus (one of J.F. Cail's longest standing collaborators and his associate for 20 years), M. Périer, M. Chénu, M. Collignon, M. Jubeau (Cail's responsible project engineer in Egypt from 1870 on), M. Lemoine, and M. A. Halot.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1: Map of the Nile Valley between Cairo and Asyut indicating locations of sugar factories built for Khedive Ismail, 1867-75.
Crédits Source: Ralph Bodenstein, DAI Cairo; base map: “Map of Upper Egypt Showing Principal Irrigation Works,” from William Willcocks, Egyptian Irrigation (2nd ed.), London: E. & F.N. Spon; New York: Spon & Chamberlain, 1899.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 140k
Titre Figure 2: Map “Province de Minieh”, 1891.
Légende The map shows a section of al-Minya province with the factory sites of Matay, Bani Mazar, Maghagha, and Aba al-Waqf, the irrigation area of the Ibrahimiyya Canal, secondary canals (in blue) and the agricultural railway network (in red).
Crédits Source: Alfred J. Chélu, De l’équateur à la Méditerranée : le Nil, le Soudan, l'Egypte, Paris: Chaix 1891, pl. 57.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 524k
Titre Figure 3: Sugar factory at Maʿsarat Samalut, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1871-2.
Crédits Source : Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 436k
Titre Figure 4: Sugar factory at Aba al-Waqf, Egypt, erected by Easton and Anderson 1871-2.
Crédits Source: From William Anderson, “On the Aba-el-Wakf Sugar Factory, Upper Egypt,” in Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. 35, session 1872-3, part I, p. 37-109.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 80k
Titre Figure 5: Sugar factory at Aba al-Waqf, Egypt, erected by Easton and Anderson 1871-2, contemporary published section drawings.
Crédits Source: From William Anderson, “On the Aba-el-Wakf Sugar Factory, Upper Egypt”, in Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, vol. 35, session 1872-1873, part I, p. 37-109.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 68k
Titre Figure 6: Layout of a cane-sugar factory in Madagascar, plan and section drawing as published in 1863.
Légende “Disposition générale d’une sucrerie de cannes par MM. Brissoneau frères”.
Crédits Source: From Jacques-Eugène Armengaud (ainé): Publication industrielle des machines, outils et appareils les plus perfectionnés et les plus récents employés dans les différentes branches de l'industrie française et etrangère, vol. 14 (plates), Paris 1863, pl. 31; http://gallica.bnf.fr/​ark:/12148/​cb32845701b/​date
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 232k
Titre Figure 7: Sugar factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, erected by Cail in 1868, interior view dating from the late 19th century.
Crédits Source: Postcard.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 264k
Titre Figure 8: Cail, Darboussier sugar factory, exterior, postcard Sugar factory of Darboussier at Pointe-à-Pître, Guadeloupe, erected by Cail in 1868, exterior view dating from the late 19th century.
Crédits Source: Postcard.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 268k
Titre Figure 9: Sugar factory at Quissamã, Brazil, erected by Fives-Lille 1877, frontal view, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.
Crédits Source: Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 368k
Titre Figure 10: Sugar factory at Quissamã, Brazil, erected by Fives-Lille 1877, lateral view, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.
Crédits Source: Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 388k
Titre Figure 11: Beet-sugar factory of Prince Woronzoff at Marüne Choutor, Russia (now Ukraine), erected by Fives-Lille 1875-76, contemporary photo by Fives-Lille.
Crédits Source: Roubaix (France), Archives nationales du monde du travail, fonds Fives-Lille, 1994 001 303.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-11.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 392k
Titre Figure 12: Sugar factory at Nagʿ Hammadi, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1895-97, view of the metal framework construction of the boiler house (undated photo, probably 2nd quarter of the 20th century).
Crédits Source: Giza (Egypt), Agricultural Museum.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-12.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 100k
Titre Figure 13: Sugar refinery at al-Hawamdiyya, Egypt, erected by Fives-Lille 1881 and after, view of metal skeleton buildings, 2009.
Crédits Source: Ralph Bodenstein, DAI Cairo.
URL http://journals.openedition.org/abe/docannexe/image/2498/img-13.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 81k
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Ralph Bodenstein, « Sugar and Iron: Khedive Ismail's sugar factories in Egypt and the role of French engineering companies (1867-1875) », ABE Journal [En ligne], 5 | 2014, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2014, consulté le 15 décembre 2017. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/abe/2498 ; DOI : 10.4000/abe.2498

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