MAPSA (1950s–)

Early 1950s
In den early 1950s MAP SA started up unofficially when three employees of the Thorens company, with imagination and experience, set up a partnership, which developed progressively at the beginning of the 1950s. They bought the necessary tools and obtained components from local manufacturers to make small movements.”

M[onti] [A]ubry [P]aillard, (S[ociété] A[nonyme] [Aktiengesellschaft]), founded by Charles Monti, Rémy Aubry and Frédéric Paillard

Charles Monti was a partner for a few months, and Rémy Aubry stayed there for a couple of days.

1952: Frédéric Paillard and Robert Tharin
Partnership Frédéric Paillard with his brother-in-law Robert Tharin, a barber and an excellent manager

1953: MAP SA
The following year, on 29th March 1953, they set up a company called MAP SA with a capital of 50,000 francs (a sizeable part of which represented machines and material), with the objective of manufacturing and selling music boxes, watchmaking movements, spare parts and various mechanical apparatus. Until 1956, their offices were in Sainte-Croix, in the Rue Centrale 15, and subsequently the company established itself in the Rue de France 2, in the factory vacated by Auguste Mermod, comb manufacturer, who had just moved to Grandson.

Fair in Basel in 1955 and in 1957
MAP SA bought bedplates and other parts from Pierre Jaccard, with whom he had a close relationship, so much so that they shared the same stand at the Fair in Basel in 1955 and in 1957, where they exhibited next to Thorens and Reuge: ‘Pierre-M. Jaccard of Culliairy, in cooperation with music box manufacturer MAP SA of Sainte-Croix, present their musical movements and supplies, as well as fishing reels and pressure cast products.’” (FAS 1st May 1957)

MAP SA developed well – Swisstone in the United States was one of its clients – and employed up to seven people in its workshops, several more at home. The company made movements and finished products for the European market, Germany in particular. ” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

1969: From Sainte-Croix to Yverdon
“In 1969, Frédéric Paillard decided to leave Sainte-Croix and looked for another location in the canton. He finally chose Yverdon where he managed to find an industrial site and rapidly put up a building, next to Pierre Jaccard foundry, who had meanwhile also moved to the valley. In 1970, he sold his factory to Robellaz, manufacturer of synthetic precious stones for the watchmaking industry, installed his machines in temporary premises and then in the new factory at Champs-Lovats, where it still is today.” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

Frédéric Paillard trained his son-in-law Jacques Uster
“The production manager was a few months away from retirement and did not want to go and work in Yverdon. That is why Frédéric trained his son-in-law Jacques Uster.” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

“On the strength of his business qualifications, the latter concentraded on diversifying the market. In 1973, during the oil crisis, an important German client wanted price reductions, so Uster thought it preferable to give up and proceed to look for new buyers. He worked with enthusiasm, visited exhibitions and fairs, offered MAP SA music boxes, established direct contacts and decided that the company could do without an agent and that he would henceforth personally take care of direct sales, on the basis of an impressive list of clients. This is still the practice today.” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

“During this period, Jacques Uster had plenty of time to learn by trial and error and to discover the different aspects of the business, with the result that in 1985 he put forward a proposal to gradually assume responsibility for the company.” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

“From the start, MAP SA manufactured small movements, essentially eighteen-note movements, in large quantities and with short delivery times, in line with customer requirements.
They bought their bedplates from Pierre Jaccard, their neighbor, but made their own cylinders using the “raised pin” system, on machines inspired by those invented by Louis Jaccard Louky, i.e. by forcing up a piece of metal on the cylinder surface, which then served as a pin.” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

1996: 18-note movement from Yverdon: 4.50 francs, Japanese: 2.50 francs, Chinese:  1  francs
“In 1996, the eighteen-note movements produced in Yverdon cost 4.50 francs, whereas the Japanese factories turned them out at 2.50 francs and the Chinese, who produced millions of them per year, even at one francs a piece. Jacques Uster, however, felt he could face competition from the East by banking on the Swiss quality label and on the supply in record time of small batches with original tunes. “Around 1990, the producers of ‘The Piano Lesson’ asked us to produce in less than a fortnight a series of 500 music boxes to serve as gifts for the Cannes festival participants on the day of the film premiere. Thanks to our flexibility, we were able to meet this demand, a small feat which would have been impossible for our Asian competitors, mainly driven by largescale industrial production!” (Le Nord vaudois, 30th November 1995)” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

“In 1996, the company was directed by Jacques Uster, the son-in-law of Frédéric Paillard, at Champs-Lovats in Yverdon-les-Bains, where it still is one of the three factories in Switzerland and in the Northern Vaud producing music boxes.

Music Programm
“The company had a tune library comprising about one thousand titles, including the “top hits” of popular singers such as Yves Duteil, Henri Dès or Michel Bühler.

One could moreover find the Internationale as well as the Swiss national anthem and other unusual melodies:

“At the bicentenary celebration of the french Revolution, we had to produce tunes such as Cadet-Roussel or La Madelon, and when the Berlin wall came down, lovers of nostalgia asked for the anthem of the defunct Democratic Republic of Germany, Jacques Uster recalls.” (Piguet 2004, p. 253-255)

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