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Hérimoncourt (Municipality, Doubs, France)

Last modified: 2020-09-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of Hérimoncourt - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 10 October 2004

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Presentation of Hérimoncourt

The municipality of Hérimoncourt (3,640 inhabitants in 2016; 729 ha) is located 10 km south-east of Montbéliard, close to the border with Switzerland.
Like other place names in the neighborhood (Héricourt, Audincourt), the name of Hérimoncourt is probably an anthroponym based on the name of a German lord called Harimund.
Hérimoncourt was incorporated to France at the end of the 17th century and to the department of Doubs in 1790.

In 1725, Jean-Jacques Peugeot owned in Sous-Cratet, a hamlet depending on Hérimoncourt, a grain mill operated by river Gland. His descendants Jean-Pierre and Jean-Frédéric, were allowed in 1812 to transform the family mill into a laminated steel factory. There was a strong local demand of such steel, which was needed for the manufacturing of saw blades and hairsprings. Peugeot also produced buffed cylindrical steel. In 1816, the Peugeot Frères company registered its first patent for the industrial manufacturing of saw blades. The company opened small factories in the hamlets of Sous-Cratet, La Chapotte and Terre-Blanche and started to manufacture a wide range of steel products.
In 1840, Peugeot started the production of coffee mills, later associated with the production of pepper mills, which made the national fame of the company. The company was so sucessful that the population of Hérimoncourt increased to 3,000 inhabitants and the town became a chef-lieu de canton (local administrative center). In 1899. Peugeot had to open more factories in the neighbouring towns.
In the beginning of the 20th century, Peugeot was the first company, along with Panhard, which produced and sold cars (automobiles). The company is still manufacturing cars (and coffee mills), but the center of the production was moved to Sochaux, near Montbéliard. The logotype of Peugeot is made of a yellow lion's head on blue, which seems not to have been inspired by the traditional coat of arms of Franche-Comté. In French, the engine of a car is colloquially called moulin (mill), and it is said that the name was coined after Peugeot's original production, coffee mills.

A less famous person associated with Hérimoncourt is Lucien Quélet (1832-1899), who spent most of his life in Hérimoncourt as a country doctor. Quélet was fond of mushrooms and was one of the founding members and the first President of the Société Mycologique de France, founded in 1855.
Quélet identified and named more than 400 species of mushrooms and completely revamped the fungal taxonomy. He was able to apply the basic principles set up by the father of mycology, Elias Fries, in a more logical way. Most of the names given by Quélet are still valid. His masterpiece is Flore mycologique de la France et des pays limitrophes (Mycological flora of France and the bordering countries), a 492-pages treaty still used as a main reference for the classification of polypores. Several mushroom species were named after him: Amanita queletii Bon & Dennis, Cabalodontia queletii (Bourdot & Galzin) Piątek, Cantharellus queletii (Ferry) Corner, Ceratellopsis queletii (Pat.) Konrad & Maubl., Cudoniella queletii (Fr.) Sacc., Entoloma queletii (Boud.) Noordel., Inocybe queletii Konrad, Leptoglossum queletii (Pilát & Svrček) Corner, Melanoleuca queletii Bon, Nectriopsis queletii (P. Karst.) Samuels, Paxina queletii (Bres.) Stangl, Phanerochaete queletii (Bres.) Nakasone [ex Corticium queletii Bres.], Queletia mirabilis Fr., Russula queletii Fr., and Suillellus queletii (Schulzer) Vizzini, Simonini & Gelardi [ex Boletus queletii Schutzer].

Ivan Sache, 10 October 2004

Flag of Hérimoncourt

The flag of Hérimoncourt (photo) shows a red bat on a yellow field, surmounted by the name of the municipality in red letters. The inhabitants of Hérimoncourt are nicknamed chauves-souris (bats, lit., "bald mice").
The coat of arms of Hérimoncourt is "Gules a dragon rampant a bordure or". The dragon is allegedly considered as the heraldic ancestor of the bat.

Ivan Sache, 10 October 2004