Did you know ...? #12

Do you know the Cockerill saga? (episode 3)

John Cockerill dies on June 19th 1840 in Warsaw. He leaves behind him a company on the brink of bankruptcy, a wife, but no children. The person who is to take over the reins of the enterprise is none other than Gustave Pastor. Cousin and nephew through marriage of John Cockerill, he is his legitimate heir. He also possesses the necessary skills to take over the enterprise. Barely 18 years of age, the young Gustave works very closely with the Cockerill family. He frequently travels abroad, particularly to England where he gains precious information on new manufacturing methods. He is successively to become responsible for new installation projects, manager of the factories, and finally Director General of the company.


During 25 years, he is to save, restart and render prosperous a company orphaned by its founder. Gustave Pastor re-launches the steel production activity. The steam engines, locomotives and ships will be at the forefront of this industrial revival. It is during these Pastor years that the Bessemer process for transforming iron into steel is introduced. A director who is as much respected by his workers as his management team, he takes retirement in 1865 while still remaining Chairman of the Board. Decorated on numerous occasions (with the title of Commander of the Order of Leopold in particular), Gustave Pastor is to die at the age of 94.