Origin of the name La Semeuse
The name “LA SEMEUSE” has entered our collective memory and reasons as a symbol of confidence attributed to a good coffee.
But do you know the exact origin of the name of your favorite brand of coffee?
We researched the reasons that motivated our founder Marc Bloch (1877-1916) and his brother Nathan to attribute this name to LA SEMEUSE oil sold in their colonial food grocery store on Rue Neuve in La Chaux-de- Funds.
The Franco-Prussian War 1870-1871
The first reason comes from the Alsatian origin of our founder and the consequences of the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871. A painful turning point in 1870: Alsace and Lorraine are lost by France and become part of the German Empire. Marc Bloch’s family, divided between the idea of staying in Alsace and therefore taking German nationality, or leaving and breaking with their past, decided to emigrate to the Neuchâtel mountains. A happy combination of circumstances, Marc Bloch and his brother Nathan found at an altitude of 1000m in a booming city the fertile ground to found a business. A few years later (in 1900), a colonial food grocery store opened in La Chaux-de-Fonds under the name of “HUILE LA SEMEUSE.”
Even though the name LA SEMEUSE is originally intended only for the brand of peanut oil sold in their grocery store, this product recreates a symbolic link with the land of origin of Marc & Nathan Bloch, La Semeuse being a symbol of the French Republic.
La Semeuse, symbol of France
Still visible on certain French euro coins, it was featured for a long time on francs, but also on stamps. It was originally created in 1886 to illustrate a medal from the Ministry of Agriculture. This allegorical figure of the French Republic represents a woman on the march. This woman wears a Phrygian cap like Marianne.
LA SEMEUSE symbol
The name LA SEMEUSE comes from the famous symbol of freedom designed by Louis-Oscar Roty. It was originally intended only for the peanut oil brand, sold in the colonial food grocery store in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
If we push the cursor a little further, the name LA SEMEUSE refers to a profession that has now disappeared.
There is a link with the peanut oil brand LA SEMEUSE. Because it is necessary to sow in order to harvest cereals.
In the 18th or early 19th century, agricultural work still took place mainly on small family farms and involved women in sowing. Innovations in techniques and tools are slow.
Plowed fields are sown with poorly developed implements. This job is attributed to women because it is an activity that does not require great physical strength. It is said that it is the woman who sows and fertilizes the earth. Hence the name LA SEMEUSE.
Finally, it should be noted that in the 1920s, the successors of Marc Bloch decided to give the same name of LA SEMEUSE oil to the coffee brand. Coffee roasting really started around this time and established itself as a unique activity from the 1950s.