Museum of Combs and Plastics

Oyonnax is an important centre for the plastics industry. Local farming families traditionally made hair-combs from wood or bone as a winter occupation. This craft grew into an export industry in the 19th century and the first steam-powered factory opened in 1865. In 1878 local producers saw the potential of the new material, celluloid. In 1899 they began making celluloid themselves and they soon diversified into new plastics, injection moulding and products such as toys and eyewear. By the early 1980s the area was known as ‘Plastics Valley’ and contained over 600 companies as well as research and education bodies. The museum, currently based in the Aragon Cultural Centre, preserves 16,000 objects and tells the story of local industry, the manufacture of combs and the technology of plastics. In Rue René Nicod, 1km away, is a model plastics factory built in art-nouveau style in 1905 – it featured reinforced concrete, electric power, central heating and water tanks on the roof for fire-prevention. It had two wings in a ‘V’ shape with belt-drives for machinery at work benches under large windows.

Museum of Combs and Plastics
Musee du Peigne et de la Plasturgie
88 Cours de Verdun
01100 Oyonnax
+33 (0) 474 - 819682