Lyon has a rich history of industrial evolution. Over the centuries, it has managed to adapt and innovate in various fields of industry that have become part of its modern heritage; silk which began with the ‘Canuts’, is an example of this.

The history of Lyon’s industrial development

The history of industry in Lyon dates back to the 4th century BC, when knowledge and expertise of textiles began to grow.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, chemistry became a recognized science and Lyon built silk factories, which became a Europe-wide reference. Soon after, weaving and printing techniques improved to become more precise and productive and during the first half of the 19th century Lyon’s silk factories became a hub for innovation in silk and its uses.

During the First World War, Lyon’s industry turned its attention to the production of armament, shells, equipment, and vehicles. After the war and the industrial revolution had passed, Lyon found itself left with a high concentration of factories in its eastern suburbs.

During the 20th century, numerous events led to the development of the Lyon area. The development, industrialization  and mechanization of chemical works and textile factories made it possible to create numerous partnerships between the sectors, encouraging innovation.

Finally, in the 21st century, the industrial challenges changed again. Today, innovation  is oriented towards rising to the challenges of economic development, as well as that of clean energies, in line with the 2°C objective set by the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

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