We know what the numbers on the bottom of the canteen glasses correspond to and they are not age-related – Ouest-France Evening Edition

We know what the numbers on the bottom of the canteen glasses correspond to and they are not age-related – Ouest-France Evening Edition

Popular in French canteens, Duralex glasses are the subject of a school legend as only childhood could create them: the numbers at the bottom of each cup are supposed to reflect the age of its user. But the reality is much more pragmatic than that. Explanations.

“I'm 23 years old!”,”I'm 7!” », “You are rubbish, I am 42 years old. I beat you all! » For years, generations of children have performed the same ritual on their lunch break thanks to Duralex glasses, said to be unbreakable, from school cafeterias… Each person had to grab their own glasses to discover the numbers engraved on the bottom.

This game is that “Age in a glass of water”. A childish fantasy when you are still in school and hope for only one thing: to become big, preferably bigger than your classmates, brothers and sisters.

In the cafeteria, no one was interested in knowing the true meaning of these numbers. The important thing was the game, but the reality was less entertaining and more realistic. These numbers written on the glasses are not random, they are linked to the industrial process of manufacturing them. Each number actually corresponds to the number of the machine that makes the glass. Yes, it's the end of the school legend!

In 2016, online media Conbini He gave the following details: “When a glass defect is noticed, the company only needs to refer to this number to find and repair the defective machine as quickly as possible. Moreover, there is an argument to support this hypothesis: the numbers do not exceed 50, which corresponds well to the number of Duralex machines. »

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Over the years, Duralex lenses, here the Picardie model created in 1954, changed slightly in design as the white color gave way to translucent blue. (Photo: Marc Olivier/Ouest France)

Star of the movie sets

In addition to its status as a big star in school cafeterias and a purveyor of nostalgia among adults, Duralex's famous Picardy glass has also made a name for itself by appearing in Hollywood in several (very) big-budget films.

The hexagonal tempered glass flagship has found itself in the hands of Her Majesty's spy, James Bond! In 2012, British actor Daniel Craig took on the nickname “007”. Sky fallingHe drinks whiskey from a glass Picardy While he watched from the corner of his eye a scorpion perched on his hand, ready to stick its stinger.

Among his other appearances on the big screen, we see glass in his hands “Cate Blanchett, the dramatic heroine Blue jasmine Written by Woody Allen, or Daniel Day-Lewis, Gangs of New York »mentioning in particular the worldon December 25, 2020.

A company in difficulty

But the exploits of Duralex lenses shouldn't hide the brand's precarious economic situation. Named the Living Heritage Company in 2019, it was acquired by International Cookware, which in 2022 became La Maison française du verre, the parent company of Pyrex, its French competitor.

the reason ? A bankruptcy filing in 2005, followed by bankruptcy three years later, major technical incidents in 2017, and the coronavirus health crisis were the final blow.

The takeover offer submitted by International Cookware on January 28, 2021 was validated by the Commercial Court of Orleans. The group founded in Chateauroux was the only candidate still in the running to buy the glassworks in La Chapelle-Saint-Mesmin (Loiret), which has been in receivership since September 2020 and has 248 employees.

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Despite this change, the company was once again in a difficult situation with rising energy costs after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The historic site's furnace was placed on standby between November 2022 and February 2023, before finding some air again as prices fell. New CEO, Géraldine Fiacre, is appointed to head La Maison française du verre in January 2024.

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