La Machine

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For the French performance art company, see La Machine (production company).
La Machine
Mine museum
Mine museum
Coat of arms of La Machine
Coat of arms
La Machine is located in France
La Machine
La Machine
Coordinates: 46°53′24″N 3°28′01″E / 46.89000°N 3.4669°E / 46.89000; 3.4669Coordinates: 46°53′24″N 3°28′01″E / 46.89000°N 3.4669°E / 46.89000; 3.4669
Country France
Region Burgundy
Department Nièvre
Arrondissement Nevers
Canton La Machine
Intercommunality Loire et Forêt
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Daniel Barbier
Area1 17.95 km2 (6.93 sq mi)
Population (2012)2 3,472
 • Density 190/km2 (500/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 58151 / 58260
Elevation 202–283 m (663–928 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

La Machine is a commune in the Nièvre department in central France.


At the 1999 census, the population was 3,735. On 1 January 2012, the population was 3,472.

Mining city[edit]

Mining marked its history. Coal was extracted beginning in the fifteenth century. The hamlet took the name of "La Machine" in reference to a machine which was used to extract the coal. Production stopped in 1974.

The coal mines attracted many workers and made the village and an economic engine for the region. From 1869 to 1946, the mines of La Machine, under the control of the Schneider Company, enjoyed a great prosperity and the development of the city accelerated. At the time of nationalization, the city had more than 6,000 inhabitants, with a quarter of them employed in the mine. Most are housed in housing estates built by the Company near wells :

City Sainte-Marie (1856-1857) St. Eudoxia City (1878) City of Zagots (1917-1918) City des Minimes (1922-1938)

Between 1917 and 1927, about 300 employees at the wells were Chinese. They are a part of the 140,000 Chinese that France and Britain had used to work in the back of the front during the First World War. Before their arrival in the village, some worked had already worked in the munitions factories also owned by the Schneider company. Only twenty stayed after the 1930s. They were to be followed by the Poles, Italians, Yugoslavs and North Africans. In 1936, 30% of the population of the village is of foreign origin.

The city reached its maximum population in the 1950s and became the fourth metropolitan department behind Nevers, Cosne-sur-Loire Decize.

After a modernization of the mines and the centralization of coal mining in Wells Minimes La Machine had to cease trading because of the coal crisis in France. In recent years, coal was intended only for local businesses when it was still more or less profitable due to the low cost of transportation. Nevertheless, the last miner came up in 1975 after three centuries of coal mining.

See also[edit]