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Our History

carriere de terre refractaire le panyol

White Larnage Clay: where it all began

The name of this village comes from the Latin “arenaticum”, which means “sand”.
The white clay from this village has exceptional refractive properties and is naturally resistant to high temperatures.  It was used since the 3rd century AD by the Romans, whose scattered remains in and around the village include fragments of large tiles and pottery.
Our story starts here...

Centuries of pottery tradition

Towards the end of the Middle Ages, several pottery-making families in Larnage were harnessing the refractory benefits of white clay. This is where the famous “yellow service” crockery produced in Larnage came from. Even now, you can still find fragments of this pottery in the land around the village.

(source : Alban Horry - céramologue)

The Industrial Revolution

The golden age of white Larnage clay was in the Industrial Revolution, with massively increased demand for industrial kilns and metallurgy. 

1840 : It was then that Alfred Terrassier (an engineering graduate from the prestigious School of Arts et Métiers and the owner of a large quarry in Larnage) decided to use this clay to make bread ovens for bakers. From 1863 onwards, the quality of his products earned him myriad awards from trade fairs and professional competitions in France and abroad.

1863 : The 1st medal from the regional competition in Valence for his fuel-saving ovens made from refractory fired clay
1864: Silver medal at the regional competition in Grenoble
1867: 1st prize at the Comice de Saint Donat show
1898:  Medal awarded in the International Fair in Paris for his cast-iron equipment, ovens and bread oven accessories.
The company became a major supplier to the Military Engineering Corps and major administrative bodies.


Ancienne usine des fours à bois Le Panyol

Our company sailed through the Great Depression

In 1933, the company (still owned by the Terrassier family) was the largest Oven Manufacturing Centre in France with 20 hectares of quarry and a 15,000m² model factory which allowed them to store products and fulfil major orders.

Jacques Fayol, a flame burning in the night

1964 : With the arrival of electrical bread ovens for bakers, the market took a dramatic turn. Jacques Fayol (at this time the factory foreman) refused to follow the trend and took over the company. He went the other way, determined to preserve the company’s historic expertise and forge partnerships with ten or so specialist assembly and installation experts.

At the same time, in order to keep the company’s business going, he began to manufacture refractory fire-bricks. Success followed swiftly and, in the Rhône-Alpes region, “La Fayol” became a household name. (Here’s one of the last examples of this, taken straight from our attic)

Première version des fours Le Panyol

Jean Pivard, and the return of the wood-fired oven

1990 : Only a few years after taking over at the helm of the company, Jean Pivard sensed a resurgence in public interest for wood-fired ovens. He teamed up with Pierre Delacrétaz, a bread oven expert, to design a high-quality oven that could easily be put together by the client, and which offered the maximum possible output. 

1996 : Le Panyol was born.

2006 : In recognition of our excellence and expertise, the company was awarded the EPV label. (Living Heritage Company)

2010 : A boom in exports Clients from all over the world seek out Le Panyol ovens: from Australia, Europe, Japan, USA, Israel, South Africa, Northern Africa, Canada and elsewhere.


four le panyol nouveau modele

Le Panyol in the limelight

2014 : Our ovens took a significant step forward with the addition of work surfaces, increased visibility for our white clay, and created a new pediment which makes it much easier to clad the oven - and make Le Panyol ovens instantly recognisable.

2017 : The launch of our social media campaign and a host of new innovations

Today, FAYOL SAS is the last French Company to use our special White Clay to manufacture refractory fired earth cooking instruments.