The oldest soap factory in Marseille

Publié le June 2, 2023

Marseille soap has become over the centuries a symbol of the city of Marseille and its cultural heritage. Today, the Fer à Cheval soap factory is proud to perpetuate this tradition by offering authentic Marseille soaps, made using ancestral methods.

The manufacture of real Marseille soap is a complex process which requires particular know-how. The master soap makers at the Fer à Cheval soap factory have inherited this expertise. For more than 165 years, they have passed down from generation to generation the secrets of making authentic Marseille soap: ancestral know-how and an authentic recipe dictated by the Edict of Colbert of 1688.

It was in 1856 that a candle factory was established at 66 chemin de Sainte Marthe. The latter gradually became a Marseille soap factory.

In 1900, the production of Marseille soap developed at the soap factory. She even won the gold medal at the Universal Exhibition in Paris for the quality of her soaps.


The history of soapmaking is closely linked to that of Savon de Marseille. After gaining notoriety and having won over many homes thanks to its hygiene and detergency properties, the use of Marseille soap decreased greatly at the end of the Second World War. In fact, the latter is replaced by washing powder.

Savonnerie Fer à Cheval is diversifying and launching a factory dedicated to this new product. Until now producing Savon le Chat, the soap factory is launching Le Chat Machine, the first detergent powder with Savon de Marseille.

After darker years, the Seghin family took over the soap factory in 2013 and breathed new life into it. Its ambition is to safeguard a part of Marseille's heritage and preserve ancestral know-how by restoring Marseille Savon to its letters of nobility.

If until now the soap factory exclusively produced soap for professionals, the historic Fer à Cheval brand has been put back at the heart of the activity and is intended to be sold directly to consumers.

Both manufacturers and processors, the Savonnerie Fer à Cheval teams continue to make real Marseille soap by developing the Fer à Cheval brand while retaining custom manufacturing.

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