RAFAEL CATALÁ
 
 


símbolo del 240 aniversario de Rafael Catalá

The Catala family has been involved in silk weaving for 240 years

 

Almost two and a half centuries is enough for a lot to be done; sweet moments and bitter ones. Lights and shadows in the history of a company that generation after generation, has known how to inherit, how to learn and how to transmit the tradition in the noble trade of the art of silk.

This period can be expressed in words, but also, through the experiences of all the people who have made RAFAEL CATALÁ the proud company that it is today and has always been.

In 18th century Valencia, the silk tradition lived a time of great splendor. Hundreds of Valencian families worked around this activity, amongst them, the family of Salvador Catalá, who dedicated himself to the manufacture of velvets, espolins, brocades and damask in the district of Velluters.

In 1855 Rafael Catalá Fayós was born. His beginnings were not easy, he lost his father and therefore the teacher who would have formed him in the silk tradition. When he was 17 years old he began as an apprentice in a velvet factory. Later he travelled to Lyon and later to Seville to acquire a great education and technical ability.

After this journey, as his grandfather did, he started a factory in the heart of the district of Velluters, where he forged the beginning of a new period. The high clergy was the main client who required cassocks, cloaks, etc. of a great ornamental wealth.

In the Valencian High street, between wooden looms, as the canons dictated to the good weavers of the era, his son Rafael Catalá Benlloch was born and guaranteed the continuity of the family. 

In 1897 Rafael Catalá Fayós, founded the company in Paiporta motivated by the need for larger facilities. From here he dedicated himself to the manufacture of silk yarns, spinning and weaves.

In this period of time the silk activity was controlled by the School of the Greater Art of Silk that guaranteed the quality of the Valencian genre that was exported to all Europe.

The process of creation was characterized by being artisanal, to which a more mechanical industry was united helping to respond to the increasing demand.

 

In 1902 RAFAEL CATALÁ run by Rafael Catalá Benlloch began to export to the U.S.A. and North Africa.

Until 1930 RAFAEL CATALÁ only used natural silk as a raw product but from then on, Rafael Catalá Vicente incorporated new raw materials like cotton, linens and viscoses. In this way, he established a prestigious name that remained until 1936.

With the outbreak of the Civil War in 1936, Rafael Catalá had to dedicate part of its production to make parachutes for the republican army.

In 1940 RAFAEL CATALÁ tried to recuperate its internacional position participating in various international exhibitions, such as the Universal Exhibition in New York.

From 1979 under the command of its actual president Alberto Catalá Ruiz de Galarreta, the textile modernization is driven on, in order to endow the industry with a greater dynamism. Modern technologies like electronic looms, cad cam technology and high performance machinery were incorporated. All this makes the production process more agile and allows the Valencian fabrics to be marketed internationally.

In 2003 RAFAEL CATALÁ left the hundred year old factory in Paiporta to move to Albuixech, where the company counts on modern facilities that allow an efficient response to the demands of its clients.

The company has maintained the old looms of the 18th century with the primitive Jacquard machines. On these looms they continue weaving with silk, silver and gold threads which have great artisanal value, destined for the fabrication of traditional Valencian dress.

At present, RAFAEL CATALÁ possesses an archive of incalculable historical-artistic value, with drawings, samples and Jacquard cards.

Today this company can be proud of to have overcome the most critical moments of world-wide history, until becoming practically the only survivor dedicated to an activity that occupied thousands of families two centuries ago.

Throughout almost 240 years of history, many landmarks can narrate the history of this company, from the fabric that decorated the Kennedys’ bedroom in the White House, to silk made to make the bridal gowns of princess Cristina and princess Letizia.

 

 
         
 
 
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