"He was born with a gentle soul, sensitive to music, that one the tricks of the Navy had in 1806 embedded on the ship the INTREPIDE that boring by the balls, dislocated him and decimated, was, the disaster consumed, captured by the English, and retained in the prisons of Noremencross."

There he could showcase his talents as an inventor and creator.

His memory remained alive, since a century later, in La Semaine de Suzette from February 4, 1937, you are above and below a picture story altogether fanciful life Cruchet and of course very simplified. This however proves that even in 1937, his name was not lost. Today we  make what its requires
so that it remains in memory .... French part of our heritage in fact !

Say me Mom, who was “ The Chap Truchet “ ?

-I'll try to revive him to thee, my small Anne-Clotilde. I did not know him, of course, but a specialist writer of the toy and the doll, Henri Nicolle, saw him at the end of his life, heard the story of his misadventures and told them in a small book  of 1868, and wich  cannot be found..
-But Mom, why this sailor is interesting ?
-Among all his talents he had to create music robots  and dolls articulated - then said "living dolls" - in an era where most of the dolls were still steep and cramped.

Sailor, musician, engineer, doll-maker, Noël Gabriel Marie CRUCHET was born in 1785 to Cherbourg; son of marin, of course.
Born 25 December, he should of course be called Noël, but it was allegedly call Emmanuel by his parents; Emmanuel, who is also the name of Jesus.
And when it is born on Christmas day, he is very gentle to think that it is doomed to manufacture toys for children.
In his birth he already has a sister, Rose, born in the previous autumn. Later he will have a brother, in soft first names of Aimable Jude who will be born in the spring of 1790.
In 1785, France is calm. It suffers, but it seems still quiet. Not for a long time, unfortunately. When to start the great storm of 1789, our character was only 4 years.
But the 2 year Pluviose II (January 1794) he has 9 years and it is embedded as foam on the " REDOUTABLE ".
Vendémiaire year 29 XIV (September 1805), it is beginner because he has 20 years (time was foam up to 16 years, then a novice up to 20 years) in the  " INTREPIDE ".

As to his brother Aimable, it is embedded in turn in 1802 as foam on the same " Formidable  " will complicate for distinguish beetwin the  brothers.
The Republic has laboured the first Empire and brought forth and France is engaged in a France-England match whose final is played at Trafalgar 21 October 1805, with the knowing failure known for our colors.
Leg remained on the " Formidable "  that it would perhaps fired the shot that took the enemy Admiral Nelson. Alas, poor brother, he was killed on this ship.

Hence an error that will believe in the death of our hero. An exchange of correspondence between the father of two boys who is at the Martinique and the mother in Cherbourg restores the truth, and our "chap" is still alive for the delight of children of this dying century.
On the night of that unfortunate naval battle, a major storm forced the British to release the captured ships. Unifortunately, the" Intrepid " is one of them, and this is our Noël Marie taken into captivity among the English.


Like many sailors and prisoners of this time, he occupies his inaction to tinker. With his gifts of engineer-inventor-musician, it fixes various musical instruments, which is in town and, hence, commands a temporary release and a nascent consideration.
His masterpiece of mechanic was undoubtedly, we reported on, a small two-inch long vessel which would make its way in the world. Anything missing; through two clinker is distinguished even domestic distributions. Was this small masterpiece confiscated or too celebrated ? Still is it that the Regent himself wanted to buy it.He offered 30 guineas and to make cheap, the freedom of its author.
It is known that CRUCHET, whose generosity will become legendary and vaudra him at the end of his life the affectionate nickname "Bonhomme Cruchet", shortened refused the transaction. If the 30 guineas it were moderately interested, he asked that the extent of release to be extended to five of his companions. Which was denied.

Do you believe that the disaster of the Empire and the 1815 peace have done it back in his homeland? No. It seemed to please in England, where they called it probably " Mister Crroutchett ". He began is a small industry of mechanical toys. Among other things, allegedly, the famous toy guillotine which the English were an educational toy.

and also this insolent little robot "Le Priseur", ( snuff-tacker ) an allusion to the Napoleon ogre who delights these same English.

It is on leave from the Navy on 30 May 1814. Finally, 12 June 1817 he obtains a certificate that it has been "scratched numbers, having renounced the navigation". It is not really the vocation of seafarer. Its vocation and career are elsewhere. It is owned by his genius creation.
This is of course in Paris that he will be able to assert his talents and profit, seconded by his wife. Difficult to follow it step by step, therefore; it only has markers by consultation with the commercial registries. On hand will be valuable information on his work as doll-makerr by patents of invention that he took.

In the early years, it is essentially engineer in music, and is a fairly natural slope it is going to settle in the reduced model, the robot, and finally the doll.
And soon enough it will acquire the title of "bonhomme" ( chap ) indicating a familiar veneration. The word we is blown by Henri Nicolle, who also said: ....« For it is nothing less than a celebrity that Mr. Cruchet, and in toys, is it you please, not by talking with a marked... ..and further consideration is the good Lord cardboard animated. The snowman Cruchet, Sir, is the father of the homeland. Several generations of manufacturers have, with its inventions earned millions, which he was refused. This is not his case sell and exploit. New creation completed, all it the book; it takes another of his brain

Ven. Well... If he delivers his inventions, it is in no less property of some by shots of patents protect.

It is true that much of his creations we are known by the testimony of Henri Nicolle. Thus this priseur already mentioned that would have been the author type complicated movements: it approached the snuff-tacker bottle in his pocket, it opened, exhibited it in front, the home to him, lévigeait powder, was taken to his nose, then short secouait his crop, closes its box, recovering it in his pocket, and welcomed the hand in at a slight head

In 1850, the idea of articulated dolls is in the air.
Cruchet is tempted by this new way of searching. In truth, a dummy articulated this is not at all new. Since the highest antiquity it was known to assemble two parts of the body so that they are mobile between them. And, before the dolls, exist models of artists capable of all attitudes. But they were wood.
Dolls was to adapt these assemblies of materials both more realistic and more daring to hand or the child's cheek: fabric or skin. They are flexible, soft materials. It had to design an internal skeleton, before there was, later, in porcelain, the element of rigidity necessary.

He took several patents

The patent 9.939 of May 29th, 1850.

An ambitious idea to obtain the space in the heads of pasteboard of Germany (A material which we know hardly nowadays); it is a question of being the object, either in two pieces, face and back, welded, but in a single molding. Let us admit that it is not very clear and not so useful; let us pass, not without having given the attractive drawing.

The patent 13000 of Februaryr  1st 1852
It is for us remarkable by vagueness in spelling and reasons, relating to applied ignorance.

 « C’es sujets onts la têtes mobil pouvant tourner à droite et à Gauche … Je me ser de Rotulles et D’orbites Comme étant ce que  L’anatomie nous Enseignent …… Avec ces sujets on peu optenir tutes les Pauses que l’on Désir et Les Artistes ….. C’est au moyen d’un tube en métal introduit dans Les Pieds et les Gembes que ces sujets Conservent L’équilibre le plus Aérien. »

The"claim" says that some "dolls fashion men women and children of any size, with joints (emphasis, please!), in any way whatsoever."

This is a device to bearings, need to hide under a small skin, skin is not without interest for its time.

The patent  23.825 of  June 18th  1855

This patent concerns the real find of the snowman, that Henri Nicolle. tells in these words: "Making out a sound any a bellows, tis veru easy, but two different and successive notes asks a clever man." The fmakers of babies are lost their latin." ..."Our father Cruchet, came to tell one what fortune if our babies said PAPA and MAMAN." We can do, PAPA or MAMAN they call. " The snowman Cruchet replied: "You never have therefore seen playing the Horn." Customize a flag to your bellows, and that a small resort, as the hand of the horn player, it closes and opens it in turn. Open, you will have full sound PAPA; closed you him deaf MAMAN.. "And Henri Nicoll
e adde:" iI already had in this genre, rectified singing of cocks and hens. -Before that I am in was involved, we said the snowman has the word for laughs, the misérables were lay cocks.
The author cannot help to announce at the same time his political color: "To say that we have had our children in this confusion!" a rooster that pond! In the eyes of our policies, would - so what explain 1830 regime? ”

 Patent 55,092 of August 2nd 1862

 It concerns a piece of metal which, he said, the advantage of keeping the joints in a state of flexibility and strength (which means that the member is articulated and easily position imposed on him, and custody). The drawing will be enough to understand. Obviously the nut must be relaxed over time, certainly we can catch up by tightening the screw, but this requires "dépeausser" (to tear the skin away ) the doll.

Patent no future.


All this is quite touching, but does not really date in the history of the doll. Returning to our man.
H.Nicolle beautifully made up his talent as a child, referring to two flutes holes along the hedgerows in Normandy he pierced the elder and smaller vessels that knife fashioned ...

Nicolle is clearly moved by his host when he is going to make this visit he tells in his book
LES JOUETS – CE QU’IL Y A DEDANS. (THE TOYS - WHAT IS IN IT). He contends that several generations of manufacturers, with his inventions, won millions witche has refused. But I bet that Mrs Cruchet retain a portion. (HN also a thought for his old girlfriend who was listening, and as her husband spoke, his eyes animated by a tender pride seemed to say "what a man, and it's mine").

Finally its patents have not given him a great reputation, and even less fortune. At least on the French market. But then, what did he live?
Henri Nicolle, once again, gives us the answer in this account of his visit to the incredible junk of work- store of our  man.

« How did he see his art? the question comes naturally. Each year he performs his patience a little masterpiece of mechanics childish and sold from 1200 to 1500 francs. Who? you say? You do not see any living in those parts exposed curious, do you know anyone who has a taste to acquire. It is with these machines like birds of Mr. Bontems. It sends itself abroad, and there is always a Creole Spanish colonies, a planter from India to a magician or a violinist monkey charm of its existence.»

hat's also why we could still say HN is never seen dolls of Cruchet in antique auctions.

 As we must not forget that our man is primarily a manufacturer of robots, it is says the guy Cruchet dream flying bird. : "  There is in it to win 80,000 francs. Now consider well this board, the son coils, these springs and these relaxations, we are close to the solution "- the naive dreamer to 84 years.

                             The conclusion of the visit of the reporter in the inventor is more realistic:

  « Ö good Providence, it is therefore not take years,
 and all ages are those of the illusion ! »

Dear Anne-Clotilde, that's who was this Marine inventor. If you can ever hope to have a doll - or your brothers a little robot - of him, knowing that there will at least always somewhere Cruchet a Father Christmas for children of all ages.

Jacques et Anne-Marie POROT

SOURCES consultées :

Etat civil  1779 – 1800 – Archives municipales de Cherbourg
Registres des mousses et Registre des Novices – 4P6/99 – Archives de la Marine – Cherbourg
Annuaires du Commerce – Paris – 1835  – 1877
Liste électorale – Paris – 1867
Brevets – INPI – Paris

Les JOUETS, - CE QU’IL Y A DEDANS – Henri Nicolle - 1868
Les JOUJOUX – Pierre Calmettes – Paris 1924 – p.192
Les JOUETS DE FRANCE – Léo Claretie – Paris – 1920 – p.103
POUPEES ARTICULEES – J. Porot – Paris 1982 – p.42 et 43

L’Art et l’enfant – 1908
La Semaine de Suzette – 4 février 1937



Following the publication of the article above, Poupendol received an E-Mail of Ms POROT,
 dated April 5, 2010, we give you below at length.

«..... It was a nice surprise ....... she recalls many memories. In particular looking at Cherbourg, in the Archives of the Marine, the astonishment of the conservative when it has given us the great books about ships and their crews, full of dust by stating that we had not been consulted since their origin ! What a thrill for us to read what the master had written there were more than a century recounting the battles and deaths of seamen! And the archives of the Office of Mayor announcing the death of brother Cruchet, Cruchet confused with itself and the astonishment of the mother receiving at the same time as the announcement of her husband a letter explaining the mistake. Yes it was a famous discovery and we had to reread several times to understand what had happened. Everything is recorded, both in the archives of the Marine and in Registry Office. Just go to the sources. This has earned us a good trip in the Cotentin. They are good memories, thank you for having found and put online with the addition of La Semaine de Suzette ......»


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