The History of Nitram Charcoal
Provided by Daniel Gros, France.
In 1914, my father, Martin Gros was born in Spain. At the end of the Spanish Civil War he moved to France just as the WWII started in 1939.
These were difficult times and work was hard to come by so he got a job working on a local farm. He started making charcoal in the forests of L’yonne, France. He did this until 1962 when the new owner for a very old charcoal manufacturer (Luxor) hired him.
He worked there until 1965 when he decided to open his own factory. I was 15 years old at the time and was expected to help. The new charcoal Company was called NITRAM, which is Martin spelled backwards.
The beginning years were very difficult. Demand was small and production was not very consistent. However, in 1968 an important client placed a large order that could not be met using current production methods and techniques. This required a new approach. Quality wood and specialized equipment, which I experimented with and designed, helped shape Nitram to become the product it is today.
In 1981 my father retired and I left my job at the post office to continue manufacturing Nitram. I invested in a larger piece of property as well as new machinery and a specialized oven. This oven, which is still in service, helped assure a cleaner manufacturing process, while maintaining quality. Over the years I refined the process with newer and larger models.
The Nitram methodology and the spirit of Nitram Fussains has been passed on to Jerzy Niedojadlo, who as a practicing artist has shown a great passion for Nitram charcoal. Jerzy has what it takes to maintain the quality of Nitram Charcoal and continue to make it available to artists worldwide.