Wednesday, October 29, 2014

La Forge Royale Price List

Ever on the hunt for vintage French woodworking stuff, we recently scored a 1949 price list for Pierre Feron's A la Forge Royale woodworking tools catalog.

I haven't had much chance to translate any of this (I need to learn more French. Louis, are you there?) but I did try to translate some of the prices from 1949 francs to 2014 dollars. I found this chart which lists several currency conversions since 1948. Then I went to this site to see what it would cost in 2014.

So let's try to price a toothing plane, a "rabots a dents" from the second page of tools in the La Forge Royale catalog reprint from MWTCA. The price is 525 francs for the shorter toothing plane in beech (the least expensive wood). IN 1949 one U.S. dollar was worth 3.3196 francs. Divide 525 by that and you get $158.15, in 1949 dollars. In today's dollar thats $1581.71. Unless "Hètre" is French for "Stanley #1", something is definitely wrong here. (Hètre means beech, Charme is hornbeam, Fruitier is obvious)

So let's assume the prices are in cents, or "centimes". So 525 centimes would be 5.25 francs. That translates into $17.42 in 1949 dollars, or $174.22 in 2014 dollars. That seems more realistic.

Here are a couple links to download the price list and catalog. The catalog document has been around for some time (Schwarz posted it years ago) but this is the first time the price list has been online to my knowledge.

La Forge Royale (Feron era) Price List 1949

La Forge Royale Catalog (Feron era)


  1. In December 1945, 1US$= 119.10 FF.
    On the 25th of January 1948, 1US$= 214 FF

    1949 is not the best year to make conversions.
    before the 27th of April 1US$=214 FF and after the 27th of April 1US$= 300 FF.

    In 1960 there is a New Franc 1newFF=100 old Franc.

    It would be more relevant to compare the price with the salary of a French "menuisier".
    It seems the average French salary has increased by about 8% during the same year.

    Prices might have been unstable in that period.


  2. There's something wrong with your math; one (or both) cacluations is wrong: In the second calculation, you decreased the amount in francs by a factor of 100, yet the dollar value only decreased by a factor of 9.

    1. Youre right. Should have divided instead of multiplied. The more realistic price shoukd be about $15.


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