Vichy, Gustave


Gustave Vichy was born in 1839 in Paris. Being a child, he was assisting his father in the store of mechanical toys. Нis father was bankrupted when Gustave was only 23, but the young man made a decision to save the family business. After receiving a patent for the substitution of some wooden parts in the mechanisms for metal parts, he established his own factory. The production focused on musical automata instead of mechanical toys.

Vichy married Maria Teresa Burger in 1864 - modiste who sewed clothes for the dolls. Trying to find his own way, Vichy began to improve sound construction of automata and paid special attention to the doll’s clothes, that his wife created following the latest fashion trends. Vichy was the first manufacturer who organized the entire production process in his small workshop. In 1878, the company received the silver medal at the exhibition in Cherbourg, and in 1880 the gold at the World Fair in Melbourne. Vichy’s children were gradually involved in the family’s business. His son Henry renamed the firm into G&H, the same time the best-known automata "Pierrot on the Moon" and "Moon of the Century End" were created. Henry conducted active negotiations with the firm producing phonographs “Lioret”. He was the first among automata manufecturers to use a phonograph. One of his most well-known models is “A French Soldier-Trumpeter”.

After the death of Vichy senior in 1904, the family sold the business to August Triboule, the former worker. Under control of the new owner, the factory was bankrupted soon.

Exhibits in the Museum Collection