On September 22, 1985 we founded the Museum of Old trades. The statutes were written and we made a list of the trades that we were going to discuss. In this list, the flax industry.
I was born in Bodilis in 1930 and remember to have witnessed a ginning of flax in 1938, at the farm Guillerm in the village of the Vilar in Bodilis. The scene is happening in the courtyard. Two men sitting on the bench to be ginned, face each other. Two women pass the linen by handles, not very big. In turn, the men holding the plant by the root, pass the rods between the teeth of a large comb. The effort is great because seeds and stems are a powerful brake that opposes the passage of the plant. The seeds fall on a large canvas while the stems are stowed in a truck that will carry them to a factory in the north coast (renamed Côtes d’armor since) to be worked on.
At the end of the founding assembly of the museum, I thought I might be able to find this bench to be ginned in Bodilis. So I showed up at the Guillerm to find out. Alas! The bench had been gone a long time ago. I continued on my way in the direction of Morlaix and, in a flea market in Tréanton, I found what I was looking for: a bench identical to that of Bodilis with the center, engraved in the wood, the name to Shock CDE. It originates from the area of St. Behind Plouzévédé.
On various occasions, I found in the peninsula of Crozon Flax Mills, fibre combs, spools of yarn, shirts, linen and hemp. I also found traces of several looms. The house that houses them is called “An Ti Stern” The House of traits. The spindles used to spin flax are different and larger than those used for wool.
On that day I visited the Fitament family of Kerlivet in Argol. Jean is at home and cleans his barn, above the cows of the beams without floor. At the end of the building laid on the beams a few bundles through which one can guess a wooden object. I ask Jean to enlighten me: “It is a kind of spinning wheel that is up there”. With his permission I borrow a ladder to see more closely this forgotten wheel. Under a large 2-metre-long plank there are four feet of willow, one of which is a dusty tomb. On beams with joists that support a wooden wheel and on the opposite side an iron rod that must receive I don’t know what. We go down the device and agree to baptize it “wire rewinder”. I entrust it to my stepfather for restoration. Here now the museum has a line of almost complete flax, from the bench to Ginner to the wire rewinder.