The cork-stopper industry in northwestern Spain: origin and evolution of an activity with a handmade-domestic profile (1827-1977)


  • Juan Carlos Guerra Velasco



Stopper, cork, rural industry, northwestern Spain


The increase of the use of cork as a closure stopper reaches La Liébana (Cantabria, Spain) along the second decade of the xixth century by the hand of French traders that supply it to Marensin factories. A few years later it expands across northwestern Spain mainly due to Portuguese influence and, especially, to Catalan origin manufacturers. Initially, the business is mainly forestry related but little by little small initiatives on cork materials emerge. These business initiatives, in spite of the vast location involved —from Cantabria to Salamanca and from the Basque Country to La Coruña—, maintain a quite unchangeable profile almost until the last cork industries close down at the end of the 1970s. This profile is characterized by its being handmade, a family and domestic business and scarcely mechanized.


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