The cognate industry of bleaching has been carried on since early in the 18th century, and large ironworks grew up in the latter half of the 19th century.
Pop. (1906) 9749 It possesses iron mines and is the centre of the coal-fields of the Aveyron, which supply the ironworks established by the Duc Decazes, minister of Louis Xviii.
By making them in longer lengths a reduction was effected in the number of joints - always the weakest part of the line; and another advance consisted in the substitution of wrought iron for cast iron, though that material did not gain wide adoption until after the patent for an improved method of rolling rails granted in 1820 to John Birkinshaw, of the Bedlington Ironworks, Durham.
It has a royal arms factory established by Charles IV., and other ironworks, considerable manufacture of macaroni, paper, breeding of silkworms, and some fishing and shipping.
In the city are large ironworks, and numerous other manufactures.